Unrest in Pakistan over Imran Khan arrest continues as army deploys, 8 killed in clashes – World Today News

islamabad Pakistan’s major cities were again rocked by riots and deadly riots on Wednesday when a court in the capital Islamabad ordered former Prime Minister Imran Khan to be detained for eight days on corruption charges. Army troops have been deployed on the streets of two of the country’s largest provinces, Punjab and Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, amid the chaos unleashed by the arrest of the former leader.

At least eight people have been killed in the clashes, according to a senior government official, but Khan’s party says the actual death toll is in the dozens.

Authorities said at least four people were killed in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Wednesday when supporters of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) political party stormed the offices of national broadcaster Radio Pakistan. It was just one of many outpourings of anger among Khan’s supporters following his arrest on Tuesday morning as he appeared in court to face corruption charges.

Gunshots were heard from Peshawar’s Bala Hisaar fort, which houses a military installation. A protester was killed in the southwestern city of Quetta on Tuesday, bringing the officially confirmed death toll from two days of unrest to at least five. The PTI, however, claims that some 50 people have been killed and more than 1,000 have been arrested.

A policeman with a machine gun walks past a burning car during a protest by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party activists and supporters of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran over the arrest of their leader, in Peshawar, on May 10, 2023.


Police said in a statement on Wednesday that officers in Pakistan’s largest province, Punjab, had arrested at least 945 Khan supporters since Tuesday, including top PTI leader Asad Umar. Dozens of Khan’s supporters were also detained in Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar and other places. At least 157 police officers were injured in clashes with Khan supporters, authorities said.

Schools across the country closed and major roads remained quiet or deserted as people not taking part in the protests largely chose to stay home. Several major social media platforms were offline in the country and internet connections were suspended or irregular as authorities clamped down on communications in an attempt to quell the unrest.

khan was ousted from power last year, losing a vote of no confidence in parliament, but the former national cricket star remains one of Pakistan’s most popular politicians. He came to power in 2018, backed by the country’s powerful military, but has since feuded spectacularly with the army leadership, even publicly accusing a senior officer of conspiring to assassinate him.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan wounded in shooting


When he was arrested on Tuesday, Khan was appearing in court on various corruption charges brought by the Islamabad police. When he appeared in court, dozens of National Accountability Office agents, backed by paramilitary troops, stormed the courtroom and broke windows after Khan’s guards refused to open the door.

Khan’s supporters quickly attacked the army headquarters in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, but failed to reach the main building that houses the offices of army chief General Asim Munir.

Other protesters tried to reach the office and residence of current army-backed Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif in Lahore, but were driven away by police with batons. Others attacked troop-carrying vehicles and beat soldiers armed with sticks.

Black smoke billows from a building set on fire by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party activists and supporters of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran during a protest against his arrest, in Peshawar on May 10, 2023.


So far, authorities have said that neither police nor soldiers have fired live ammunition at protesters. However, unverified videos posted on social media since Tuesday show men in civilian clothes shooting during protests in several cities.

Pakistan’s military issued its first reaction to the riots on Wednesday, calling the attacks “against army properties and facilities” a “black chapter” in the country and vowing it would “not let anyone take the law into their own hands.” .

The army said Khan had been arrested “in accordance with the NAB statement and law” and called those who rioted against his detention “rogues” trying to “evoke the emotions of the nation for achieving their limited goals and selfish”.

None of Khan’s party leaders have denounced the attacks on the military, but they have publicly called for the demonstrations to be peaceful.

The violent riots have prompted calls from the US and the UK for their citizens to avoid traveling to Pakistan and take all possible steps to remain safe if they are already in the country.

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