Police in Pakistan early yesterday arrested a senior leader of former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan’s party on charges of threatening the chief of the elections overseeing body and other government officials.
The arrest of Fawad Chaudhry, an outspoken critic of the government, is a major setback for his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, in which he serves as vice president. The party quickly condemned the arrest and demanded his release.
The arrest took place during a predawn raid at Chaudhry’s home in Lahore, the capital of eastern Punjab province, his family said.
Shireen Mazari, a spokesperson for Khan’s party, said that Chaudhry was taken in handcuffs straight to court by police in Lahore.
Footage released by the party later showed Chaudhry’s supporters gathered at the court and throwing rose petals at him as police led him toward a courtroom.
Angered over his arrest, hundreds of Chaudhry’s supporters blocked a key highway in Jehlum, his home city in Punjab province, to demand his release.
In a statement, Islamabad police said that Chaudhry was arrested on a complaint from the Election Commission of Pakistan on charges of threatening the head of the elections overseeing body, Sikandar Sultan Raja, and other officials.
The threats were meant to prevent them from performing their duties and incite people to violence against them, police said.
On Tuesday, Chaudhry criticized the elections overseeing body for appointing a veteran journalist, Mohsin Naqvi, as caretaker chief minister in Punjab. Khan’s party and its allies were in power in Punjab and held majority seats in the provincial assembly, but dissolved the house earlier this month, a move that apparently sought to pressure the government in Islamabad.
The dissolution of the provincial assembly set in motion snap elections, which under the constitution are to be held within 90 days.
Chaudhry on Tuesday told reporters that Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s government could arrest Khan at any time. Khan, who remains popular with a huge grassroots following, was ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament in April last year, and has been leading the opposition since.
A former cricket star turned Islamist politician, Khan was wounded in a gun attack while leading a rally toward the capital, Islamabad, in November last year. One of Khan’s supporters was killed and several others were wounded in the shooting.
In October, the elections commission disqualified Khan from holding public office for five years after finding he had unlawfully sold state gifts and concealed assets as prime minister. Khan denies the charge and has filed a motion with a court to challenge the commission.
Over a few hours under gray skies, dozens of combat planes and helicopters roar on and off the flight deck of the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier, in a demonstration of US military power in some of the world’s most hotly contested waters. MH-60 Seahawk helicopters and F/A-18 Hornet jets bearing pilot call signs such as “Fozzie Bear,” “Pig Sweat” and “Bongoo” emit deafening screams as they land in the drizzle on the Nimitz, which is leading a carrier strike group that entered the South China Sea two weeks ago. US Rear Admiral Christopher Sweeney, who is commanding the group, said the tour
Sitting in a lotus position, four men weave glittering beads through gold thread on an organza sheet, carefully constructing a wedding dress that would soon wow crowds at Paris Fashion Week. For once, the French couturier behind the design, Julien Fournie, is determined to put these craftsmen in the spotlight. His new collection, which showed in Paris on Tuesday, was entirely made with fabrics from Mumbai. He said that a sort of “design imperialism” means that French fashion houses often play down that their fabrics are made outside France. “The houses which don’t admit it are perhaps afraid of losing their clientele,” Fournie
A court in Thailand sentenced a 27-year-old political activist to 28 years in prison on Thursday for posting messages on Facebook that it said defamed the country’s monarchy, while two young women charged with the same offense continued a hunger strike after being hospitalized. The court in the northern province of Chiang Rai found that Mongkhon Thirakot contravened the lese majeste law in 14 of 27 posts for which he was arrested in August last year. The law covers the king, queen and heirs, and any regent. The lese majeste law carries a prison term of three to 15 years per incident for
INSTABILITY: The country has seen a 33 percent increase in land that cultivates poppies since the military took over the government in 2021, a UN report said The production of opium in Myanmar has flourished since the military’s seizure of power, with the cultivation of poppies up by one-third in the past year, as eradication efforts have dropped and the faltering economy has led more people toward the drug trade, a UN report released yesterday showed. Last year, the first full growing season since the military wrested control of the country from the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in 2021, saw a 33 percent increase in Myanmar’s cultivation area to 40,100 hectares, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime report said. “Economic, security and governance disruptions