Pakistan's top court orders release of former prime minister amid protests

Pakistan's Supreme Court has ruled that the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan was illegal and ordered authorities to release him.

Khan, a cricket star-turned politician, is facing multiple allegations of corruption. He was arrested on Tuesday. Local media outlets say the court issued the order two days later, after Khan's legal team lodged an objection. Khan was present in the court.

In April of last year, Khan was forced to step down as leader, after he lost a no-confidence vote. He has since been at odds with Shehbaz Sharif, the current prime minister. Khan has called for the early dissolution of parliament. He has also called for a general election to be held.

Tuesday's arrest prompted violent protests across Pakistan. Media outlets report at least eight people have died in clashes with security forces and more than 1,500 people have been detained.

Some analysts believe Khan's release was aimed at preventing the security situation from getting worse. But the confusion may continue, as some Cabinet members are strongly objecting to the court's decision. They allege that the court's action is akin to helping terrorists.