Imran Khan arrest: Protesters raid army facility, massive protests in Pakistan; 2 dead

Islamabad: Pakistan is bracing for another day of violence in several cities following the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan on corruption charges with leaders of his party announcing a nationwide strike on Wednesday to protest against the fascist government. The 70-year-old ex-cricketer-turned-politician was taken into custody on Tuesday by paramilitary Rangers barging into a room of the Islamabad High Court on the orders of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), where he was arrested. He had come to attend the hearing of a corruption case, The court later ruled that the arrest of the head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party was legal but the manner in which it was carried out was illegal and decided to take action against the Islamabad police chief and the interior secretary.

The PTI leadership strongly condemned the arrest of party president Khan and announced a nationwide strike on Wednesday. The Dawn newspaper reported that he urged the nation to take to the streets against “rising fascism” and told supporters that the “moment to make or break” had come.

Protests started in the country as soon as the news of Khan’s arrest went viralAlong with his supporters armed with batons, targeted the establishments of security institutions including the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army.

He paid no heed to the imposition of Section 144, which prohibited gatherings in key places in Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Some of the worst incidents of violence and vandalism were reported from Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Karachi and Rawalpindi.

PTI claimed at least two deaths of its workers and injuries to dozens of people in clashes with law enforcement agencies overnight.

Geo News reported that at least three people were killed and several properties and vehicles destroyed in the clashes.

NAB officials have indicated to produce him before a court on Wednesday to seek physical remand of Khan for further investigation in the Al-Qadir Trust case involving an alleged loss of over Rs 50 billion to the national exchequer. .

The Islamabad police said their case would be heard in the heavily guarded Police Line area of ​​the capital instead of the Islamabad District Court complex. The commissioner’s office has designated the police line as a temporary court through a circular.

The police announced that the security on the occasion of Khan’s appearance in the court would be on high alert mode where only concerned persons and lawyers would be allowed.

Khan is also expected to be produced in another court on the sidelines of the Toshakhana case. The court had already fixed the date of his arraignment. The case is based on allegations of concealment of income from the sale of official gifts by the former prime minister.

Separately, his supporters were sending messages on social media asking them to gather in Islamabad to force the government to release their leader.

Earlier, the PTI leadership in a late night meeting decided to continue the countrywide protest against Khan’s arrest. However, it distanced itself from the incident of arson and violence by saying that the protesters included people who wanted the party banned.

The party also decided to challenge the arrest in the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

Separately, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhary said the party would challenge the IHC’s decision declaring the arrest legal in the Supreme Court. On Tuesday evening, the court supported the arrest after hearing the arguments.

Hours after the arrest, PTI vice-chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi called a meeting of an “emergency committee” consisting of senators Saifullah Khan, Azam Swati and Ejaz Chowdhary, senior PTI leaders Murad Sayeed, Ali Amin Khan Gandapur and Hasan Niazi. aspects and announce a comprehensive action plan.

Also, PTI’s central general secretary Asad Umar said that a seven-member committee headed by Qureshi formed by Khan would announce the party’s plan of action after the arrest of Pakistan’s tallest political leader.

“The whole world is being shown that there is no law left in the country,” he said. Meanwhile, the vice chairman urged people to come out in support of Khan, who was ‘abducted’ from the court premises in a ‘false and fabricated’ case.

Qureshi told reporters at the Karachi airport that the arrest was linked to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to London and alleged that it was a “premeditated attack” on the former prime minister by the government and warned of a strong protest against the “illegal”. step’.

Responding to a question, he said, “People are protesting on their own.” “People of Pakistan came out on the streets across the country to protest against the arrest of Imran Khan. They are peaceful and only want the safety of their beloved leader.”

And it did not happen suddenly, he said, adding that Prime Minister Shehbaz extended his stay in London because he knew it (Imran Khan’s arrest plan) very well.

“Imran Khan’s arrest is somehow linked to London (Shahbaz Sharif’s visit),” the vice chairman said, adding that before appearing in court, Khan announced in a video statement, ‘he is ready for arrest’ ‘.

In London, PTI supporters gather outside Avenfield House, the Park Lane residence of PML-N Supreme Leader Nawaz Sharif.

On Tuesday evening, hundreds of PTI supporters from Britain gathered on Dunraven Street, the road leading to the gated apartment block where Sharif and his family members lived, and raised anti-Nawaz slogans.

Meanwhile, the international community has taken note of Pakistan’s position in the wake of Khan’s arrest.

The United States has called for respect for democratic principles and the rule of law in Pakistan following Khan’s arrest.

The European Union emphasized that in such difficult and tense times, restraint and coolness are needed.

It added, “Pakistan’s challenges can only be resolved and its path determined only by Pakistanis themselves, through honest dialogue and in accordance with the rule of law.”