Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ruled that former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s arrest earlier this week was “illegal” and that he should be released immediately.
The announcement came a day after a court announced that Khan can be held for eight days.
Khan was arrested on Tuesday, accused of corruption.
Since his detention, violent clashes erupted across several major Pakistani cities, where pro-Khan supporters denounced the powerful army. On Wednesday night, some protesters tried to set a police station ablaze in the capital city of Islamabad. Others, in rare defiance, publicly questioned the military’s role in the day-to-day running of the country.
Amid the chaos, the military accused what they called “evil elements” of inciting attacks against security installations and accused protesters of wanting to push Pakistan into “a civil war.”
Police said on Thursday that at least 10 people had died and 2,000 had been arrested.
Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaaf party called his arrest an “abduction” and vowed to challenge it. But Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said Khan was arrested in relation to a case filed in Pakistan’s anti-corruption court, which Khan had not attended. Other party leaders have been arrested this week as well.
The political turmoil comes as the country continues to be mired in an economic crisis. Analysts warn that hopes are eroding that the South Asian nation can get a much-needed rescue package from the International Monetary Fund.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.