development storydevelopment story
Thousands took to the streets in the capital Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and other cities.
Police fired water cannons and tear gas to quell protests that erupted in several cities across Pakistan, hours after former Prime Minister Imran Khan was arrested in connection with a corruption case.
Thousands of Khan’s supporters took to the streets on Tuesday in the capital Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and other cities to protest his arrest.
Shireen Mazari, a former minister and senior leader of Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party, told the media that at least one worker of Khan’s party was killed in Quetta.
In Islamabad, hundreds of PTI activists blocked Kashmir’s main highway, bringing traffic to a standstill on both sides of the road.
Kamal Haider, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Islamabad, said that a “situation fraught with danger” is developing after Khan’s arrest.
As reports of Imran Khan’s arrest spread across the country, protesters [took] Haider said, “We are taking to the streets and arrests have been made.” “There is a lot of anger regarding Imran Khan’s supporters and the situation is escalating by the hour.”
Haider added that officials expected the protests and warned the public not to participate in them.
“The Inspector General of Islamabad Police said that anyone who goes out to protest should be arrested,” he said.
Local station Geo News reported that the police arrested more than a dozen agency workers after clashes between the two sides took place at several points in the city.
“We will shut down the whole country and protest until Khan is released,” protester Wasim Qayyum told dpa.
Scenes outside GHQ in Rawalpindi where.@employeeFemale advocates lead the protest and a lone woman rocks the GHQ gate_ unprecedented events even for Pakistan pic.twitter.com/Tcl61fO6Dr
Munizae Jahangir May 9, 2023
In Lahore, the country’s second largest city, protesters gathered outside the residence of former prime minister Zaman Park and blocked nearby roads with burning tires. Police used water cannons to disperse the demonstrators.
In the southern port city of Karachi, supporters of the movement gathered outside the local party office located along the city’s busiest Shahr-e-Faisal Road. Both lanes of the road near the PTI office were closed to traffic as heavy police units cordoned off the area.
The police also fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators when they tried to block the road.
A group of protesters hurled rocks and burned tires on Burns Road, the city’s popular food street, halting traffic and forcing shopkeepers to close their shutters.
In the northwestern town of Landi Kotal, which borders neighboring Afghanistan, protesters blocked the Pakistan-Afghan highway at two points, Dawn News reported.
Khan’s arrest came after months of political crisis and came hours after the country’s powerful military reprimanded the former international cricketer for claiming that a senior officer was involved in a plot to kill him.
“Imran Khan has been arrested in the Qadir Trust case,” the official Islamabad Police Twitter account said, referring to a corruption case.
Video footage broadcast by local television channels showed Khan – who has developed a visible limp since being shot during an assassination attempt last year – being manhandled by dozens of paramilitary guards inside an armored car inside the Islamabad High Court building.
It was not immediately clear where he was taken.
Anticipating his arrest, party officials later released a pre-recorded video of Khan urging his supporters to come out in support of “true freedom”.
In the video, he says, “Oh Pakistanis, when these words reach you, I would have been detained under wrongful conviction.”
“One thing that should be clear to all of you from this is that basic rights in Pakistan, the rights that our constitution and our democracy give us, have been buried.”
Pakistan is mired in an economic and political crisis, with Khan pressuring the faltering coalition government to hold snap elections.
“Infuriatingly humble analyst. Bacon maven. Proud food specialist. Certified reader. Avid writer. Zombie advocate. Incurable problem solver.”