Former Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan speaks during a news conference in Islamabad, Saturday, April 23, 2022InternationalIndiaAfricaMOSCOW (Sputnik) -The Supreme Court of Pakistan declared the arrest of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan illegal and ordered his immediate release, Pakistani broadcaster reported on Thursday. Khan, the leader of the opposition Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI), was taken into custody on Tuesday, following a hearing of the Islamabad High Court in connection with corruption involving the Al-Qadir Trust, which he heads with his wife. The politician is facing an inquiry in the case related to a settlement between the PTI government and a property tycoon, which reportedly caused a loss of 50 billion Pakistani rupees ($17.6 million) to the national exchequer.On the same day, Pakistani President Arif Alvi said in a letter to incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif that he was shocked by Khan’s detention process.”I and the people of Pakistan were shocked to see the video images of the incident which reflect manhandling of a former Prime Minister who is a popular leader and head of a political party substantially supported by the people of Pakistan. The law enforcement agencies forcibly entered the office where Imran Khan was seated while his biometrics were under process, inside the building of Islamabad High Court … [it] has tarnished the image of Pakistan in the international community,” Alvi said.© AFP 2023 / ASIF HASSANPolicemen retreat after firing teargas shells towards Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party activists and supporters of former Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran near burning car during a protest against the arrest of their leader in Karachi on May 9, 2023Policemen retreat after firing teargas shells towards Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party activists and supporters of former Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran near burning car during a protest against the arrest of their leader in Karachi on May 9, 2023He also noted that people had the right to protest, but protests should remain peaceful and lawful. In addition, Alvi condemned the actions of the rioters, which reportedly resulted in the death of 10 people, with over 1,750 people injured.The president also urged Sharif to ensure that the “constitutional rights of Imran Khan are not violated and his life is fully secured.”Following the arrest of Khan, PTI called on the citizens of Pakistan to gather for mass demonstrations to demand the politician’s release. Mass protests erupted across the country, with activists setting police vehicles on fire and damaging government property, and the police using gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd.