Senior Pakistan Opposition Leader Arrested Ahead of Protests

Pakistan’s High Court on Monday ordered the arrest of key opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif after it canceled his bail in a money laundering case, just days ahead of a nationwide protest campaign against the government.

A two-judge panel headed by Justice Sardar Ahmed Naeem said Sharif -- the president of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party and former chief minister of Punjab province -- was needed for further interrogation at the request of the nation’s anti-graft body, party spokeswoman Mariyum Aurangzeb said by phone. He is in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau, she said.

Separately, the anti-graft court also indicted former president Asif Ali Zardari in a money laundering case on Monday, Geo television reported.

The arrest came days ahead of a protest drive announced by opposition parties against Prime Minister Imran Khan, who they accuse of mismanaging the country and its economy.

Shehbaz, his elder brother and ex-premier Nawaz Sharif and other opposition leaders are facing various corruption charges, which they deny.

Pakistan’s benchmark KSE-100 Index fell 2.2% at close -- the most in three months -- following the announcement of his arrest.

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