Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan has appeared in court to answer corruption charges, a day after he was dramatically arrested by paramilitary troops, sparking nationwide clashes.
The charge relates to the sale of gifts sent to him by foreign leaders while in office. His lawyer told CNN Khan rejects the indictment.
Khan has alleged he was “tortured and beaten all night” while in detention, his lawyer told CNN, adding that the former leader had “bruises on his head” when he met him at the court hearing.
Khan was arrested on Tuesday in another corruption case, where he is accused of the illegal acquisition of land and construction for a university.
His lawyer told CNN that Khan has been placed on “physical remand” for eight days following the court hearing, for the charge brought on Tuesday.
His arrest has turbocharged an already tense showdown between the country’s powerful military and his supporters, who hit the streets and sparked unprecedented scenes as angry crowds broke into and vandalized the homes of army personnel.
Pakistan’s military described the protests that followed Khan’s arrest a “dark chapter” in the country’s history, warning that any further attacks “on the army, including all law enforcement agencies, military and state installations and properties, will be severely retaliated against,” in a statement Wednesday.
Three of Khan’s supporters died in clashes in the city of Peshawar and nearly 30 others were injured, a hospital spokesperson said. Clashes continued Wednesday with hundreds of Khan’s supporters storming the headquarters of the national broadcaster Radio Pakistan in Peshawar, according to a CNN journalist at the scene.
Photos from Peshawar’s streets showed security forces firing teargas at crowds, some of whom used slingshots.
Police said nearly 1,000 Khan supporters had been arrested in Punjab province after 25 police vehicles and more than 14 government buildings were set on fire, Reuters reported.
Authorities in three of Pakistan’s four provinces have also imposed an emergency order banning all gatherings, Reuters added.