Protesters poured into the streets of Lahore as soon as news of Imran Khan’s arrest spread on social media platforms today.
There were also protests in several cities in KP province where people are extremely angry over the arrest of the leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf, the political party Imran Khan heads.
The former prime minister was arrested from his home in Zaman Park, an upscale neighbourhood of Lahore.
The Punjab police, notorious for their brutal tactics, were at his house even before the verdict was handed down by a Session Judge in Islamabad.
The judge, Humayun Dilawar has further disgraced the judiciary by his scandalous conduct.
From the word go, the judge violated every tenet of the law.
According to Imran Khan's lawyers, the judge wrote a 30-page verdict in 30 minutes!
This must be a world record.
A complete dunce, the judge could not have written such a long verdict in such a short period of time.
He cannot even string together a dozen word sentence coherently.
It is clear that the verdict had already been written--or written for him by someone else--and he simply read it out in court in his tortuous English.
The judge (Humayun Dilawar), a morally depraved individual, and his family have fled the country by taking a flight to London.
This was clearly the prize he was offered for obliging the thugs in uniform.
Let us consider the manner in which the Punjab police went into action against Imran Khan.
The normal procedure would have been for the Islamabad police to implement the court verdict.
If they cannot, they are supposed to notify the Punjab police for assistance.
The Punjab police was at Imran Khan’s house even before the court had delivered its verdict much less signed it.
The police broke down the rear gate of the house, beat up Imran Khan’s security guards and smashed their way into the house.
Eyewitnesses have recounted that Imran Khan told the police he would willingly comply with the police demand.
There was no need to attack his workers or staff.
The police still indulged in their customary brutality attacking and beating up Imran Khan’s domestic help.
He requested that he be allowed to wash and change clothes. He wanted only five minutes to do so.
The police refused.
Instead, they put a hood over his head and dragged him out of the house even though he did not resist arrest.
Police vans already parked outside his house attacked and arrested protesters—men, women and the elderly—who had gathered to register their protest at Imran Khan’s arrest.
The former prime minister was driven to Islamabad, a four-hour journey.
From there, he was taken to Attock, another 80 kms away, on the banks of the Indus River, where he was imprisoned.
Initially, he was taken to Lahore airport to be flown to Islamabad but that plan was scrapped, allegedly because of poor weather.
The timing of the arrest is also unfortunate.
On this day four years ago, India had unilaterally abrogated articles 370 and 35A of its constitution, bringing the state of Jammu and Kashmir under Delhi’s direct rule.
While the military-installed regime of thieves and crooks issued vacuous statements about the lawlessness unleashed by India in Kashmir, they indulged in exactly the same conduct at home.
Pakistan has been turned into a totally lawless state.
Long before today’s verdict, judge Dilawar had made extremely derogatory statements against Imran Khan.
These should have automatically disqualified him from presiding over the case.
Repeated requests by his legal team to have the case moved out of Dilawar’s court were rebuffed.
Pakistani social media reports say that Dilawar is about to flee the country after carrying out the task assigned to him by the military, the real rulers of Pakistan.
Dilawar’s anti-Imran Khan messages were posted on Facebook which were later deleted.
This alone should have disqualified him from presiding over a case involving the former prime minister.
The judge refused to allow defence witnesses to appear in court to testify.
He also refused to call the prosecutions’ witnesses who had made allegations against the Imran Khan, to appear in court.
Defence lawyers wanted to question them about the allegations they have made against the former prime minister.
They related to gifts he had received as prime minister during his travels to friendly countries.
The rules require that he can keep these gifts by paying a percentage of the value of the gifts.
That is what Imran Khan did.
Later these gifts were sold and his accountant duly declared them in his income statement when he filed his tax returns.
The prosecution alleged that he did not specify that this money was from the sale of the gifts.
This ludicrous allegation is so frivolous that it would not stand scrutiny in a proper court of law.
Before his arrest, Imran Khan had recorded a short statement urging people not to sit at home if he is arrested.
He said his struggle was their freedom and that of their children.
Pakistan is in the grip of a lawless culture where Imran Khan’s conviction, and disqualification, from the forthcoming elections is the overriding consideration.
Naturally, he denies the charges and says he will appeal.
Imran Khan’s lawyer, Intazar Hussain Panjutha, told the BBC the trial had been conducted by “a kangaroo-type court” in which “the accused was never given the opportunity to defend himself.”
“As a consequence of today’s conviction, he has been barred to take part in the politics for five years,” Panjutha said.
“But if the sentence and the conviction is suspended as we are hoping by the superior courts, he will then be able to come back to politics.”
For now, Pakistan’s thuggish rulers, the men in uniform, are popping champaign bottles in their airconditioned drawing rooms celebrating ‘victory’.
The people of Pakistan must make sure that these criminals are held accountable for their misdeeds.
They are the ones who have destroyed Pakistan by stealing its wealth and preventing the development of proper institutions in the country.