In a major development, senior Pakistani journalist and TV host Imran Riaz Khan was arrested in Lahore for his “controversial statements”, Geo News reported Thursday.
The arrest comes hours after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ally Sheikh Rashid Ahmed was nabbed by the Islamabad Police.
Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the agency’s team detained Riaz from Allama Iqbal International Airport while he was boarding a flight to Dubai.
Sources said that the FIA will present the journalist before a local court in Lahore to seek his custody.
Reacting to the development, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) condemned the arrest saying that they “can safely [say] that human rights are completely non-existent in Pakistan”.
“Imran Riaz Khan has been taken into custody by the FIA. We can safely say that human rights are completely non existent in Pakistan, a fascist state where rule of law is absent!” a post on the party’s Twitter handle stated.
The tweet also contained a video from the “place Riaz had been taken to”.
PTI leader Asad Umar also condemned the arrests, claiming that terrorists were roaming free while Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Imran Riaz are behind bars.
This wasn’t the first time Riaz was kept from leaving the country as the authorities offloaded the televangelist from a Dubai-bound flight last year on July 15 as well. because his name was added to a black list due to being booked in several sedition cases.
Earlier, in the same month, Riaz was also arrested in Attock in one of the 17 treason cases registered against him across Punjab.