Pakistan's police arrest top ally of former premier Imran Khan amid crackdown

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's police on Thursday arrested a top official in former premier Imran Khan's political party as authorities move to rein in the outspoken politician's supporters and allies.

Pervez Elahi, who is the president of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, was arrested in a raid in the eastern city of Lahore. Khan is head of the party, as chairman.

Khan and his party quickly denounced the arrest.

Amir Mir, who is information minister for the Punjab province, said Elahi was nabbed in a corruption case.

The latest development comes a day after former British Cabinet ministers, senior law officers, renowned journalists and legal rights organizations issued an appeal for the release of Murad Akbar, the brother of attorney Shahzad Akbar, a rights lawyer linked with Khan.

Khan himself was detained last month, sparking violent protests. Since then, police have detained thousands of Khan's followers for alleged involvement in the deadly turmoil, many of whom have been since released.

The standoff between Khan, who is calling for early elections, and the government has unleashed a political crisis. But there are signs that some senior allies of the former premier are leaving him. On Thursday, Pervez Khattak, who served as the defense minister in Khan’s government, quit the party over last month’s attacks on public and military installations by protesters.


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