Islamabad: Police in Pakistan early Wednesday arrested a senior leader of former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s political party on charges of threatening the chief of the elections oversight body and other government officials.
The arrest of Fawad Chaudhry, an outspoken critic of the government, is a major setback for the party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, in which he serves as vice president. The party quickly condemned the arrest and demanded his release.
Khan also denounced the arrest, claiming on Twitter that it left no doubt that Pakistan has become a place “devoid of rule of law.” He urged followers to “stand up for our fundamental rights” to prevent the country from drifting toward “a point of no return.”
The arrest took place during a predawn raid at Chaudhry’s house in Lahore, the capital of eastern Punjab province, his family said. Shireen Mazari, a spokesperson for Khan’s party, said Chaudhry was taken in handcuffs straight to court by police in Lahore.
Hours later Chaudhry, amid tight security, was brought to Islamabad, where a judge allowed police to keep him in custody for two days to determine why he threatened the chief of the elections oversight body and other officials.