Arrested Prime Ministers of Pakistan: A History of Political Turmoil and Corruption Charges

Arrested Prime Ministers of Pakistan: A History of Political Turmoil and Corruption Charges

Pakistan has gone through several political upheavals throughout the years, with regular changes in the country's leadership and administration. At some time in their careers, a number of Pakistani prime ministers have been detained, frequently on suspicion of corruption or other offences. Here is a list of some of Pakistan's arrested prime ministers, along with information on their whereabouts, when they were detained, their periods of detention and the reasons behind their arrests.


Imran Khan: Imran Khan, the chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), was arrested from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) premises on Tuesday afternoon in relation to the Al-Qadir Trust case. The case alleges that Imran and his wife obtained billions of rupees from a real estate firm for legalizing a laundered amount of Rs50 billion identified and returned to the country by the UK during the previous PTI government.


Shahid Khaqan Abbasi: From 2017 to 2018, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi led Pakistan as prime minister. He was detained in July 2019 on charges of fraud and corruption. Abbasi was charged with misusing his power by giving a contract for the import of liquefied natural gas to a business in which he had a financial stake. Later, he was released on bail in September 2019 after spending two months in detention.




Raja Pervez Ashraf: Raja Pervez Ashraf led Pakistan as its prime minister from 2012 to 2013. On charges of corruption and embezzlement, he was taken into custody in December 2019. During his tenure in government, Ashraf was allegedly involved in a leasing power project where he received bribes. Later, he was freed on bail.




Yousaf Raza Gillani: Yousaf Raza Gillani served as prime minister of Pakistan from 2008 until 2012. On charges of corruption and money laundering, he was arrested in 2019. During his tenure in government, Gillani was charged with illegally giving contracts to a private corporation. Later, he was released on bail in May 2019 after spending six days in detention.


Benazir Bhutto: Benazir Bhutto was the daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and served as prime minister of Pakistan three times. Her first tenure was from 1988 to 1990. She was re-elected in 1993 and served until 1996, when she was removed on corruption-related grounds. Bhutto was re-elected prime minister in 1998 but then removed from power in 1999 as a result of a military takeover and placed under house arrest for several months, she was released from detention in 1997 after striking a deal with the military government, which allowed her to go into ex. While running for a fourth term as prime minister, she was murdered in 2007.




Nawaz Sharif: Nawaz Sharif has held the position of prime minister of Pakistan three times. He was in government from 1990 through 1993, during his first term. He was re-elected in 1997 and continued in office until he was ousted in a military takeover directed by General Pervez Musharraf in 1999. Sharif was detained in 1999 and given a life sentence after being found guilty of terrorism and hijacking. Eventually, he was exiled to Saudi Arabia; he returned to Pakistan in 2007, and he was elected prime minister once again in 2013. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrested Nawaz and sentenced him to ten years in prison for corruption, along with his daughter Maryam. He was freed two months later when the court decided to halt the sentences while awaiting the high court's final ruling.


Due to his family's ownership of Saudi Arabian steel mills, Sharif was once again sentenced to seven years in prison. After 9 months in detention, he was permitted to leave the country in November 2019 to undergo medical care. Since then, he hasn't returned to Pakistan again.




Zulfikar Ali Bhutto: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who served Pakistan from 1971 to 1977, was the country's first democratically elected prime minister. In July 1977, Bhutto was detained on suspicion of planning to kill a political rival. He was released by Lahore High Court Justice who stated that his arrest had no legal grounds but was arrested again under Martial Law Regulation 12. Later, He was subsequently convicted and executed in 1979. 




Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy: Between September 1956 until October 1957, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy served as Pakistan's fifth prime minister. He objected to Gen. Ayub Khan's takeover of power. He was prohibited from politics by the Elective Bodies Disqualification Order (Ebdo), and in July 1960, he was charged with breaking the Ebdo. On false allegations of "anti-state activities" under the 1952 Security of Pakistan Act, he was detained in Jan 1962 and placed in solitary confinement in the Central Jail of Karachi.