Pakistan 11 May, 2023 03:06
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Pakistan deploys army to quell protests​

Clashes with security forces erupted in several cities after the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan
Pakistan deploys army to quell protests

A supporter of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan throws a stone towards police officers during clashes in Islamabad, Pakistan, May 10, 2023. © AP / Stringer

The Pakistani military has been deployed amid a series of violent protests over the arrest of ex-prime minister Imran Khan earlier this week, with at least eight people killed in the unrest and around 1,000 now in police custody.

The armed forces were called in to face down rowdy demonstrators on Wednesday after Khan was indicted on a fresh round of corruption charges. His arrest one day prior drew outrage from Khan’s supporters, with crowds gathering in Islamabad and other cities to block roads, clash with police and even assault law enforcement and military facilities.

“Such scenes were never seen by the people of Pakistan,” Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif said in a televised address, adding that he deployed troops to several regions after rioters “damaged sensitive public and private property.”

READ MORE: Former Pakistani PM Imran Khan detained

Sharif went on to describe attacks on ambulances and emergency workers, saying such acts were “unforgivable” and that those responsible would face harsh penalties.

According to police sources cited by the BBC, eight people have died in the clashes so far, while 1,000 have been arrested, the bulk of them in the eastern Punjab province. The army was sent to the region after 157 police officers were injured in clashes there, local officials said.

Police officers shield from stones thrown by supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan during clashes in Islamabad, Pakistan, May 10, 2023. © AP / Anjum Naveed

Photos captured by the Associated Press showed some of the unrest in progress, with protesters seen hurling objects at police and lighting fires in the streets.
The military later issued its own statement warning that the ongoing chaos was pushing Pakistan toward “civil war,”also saying “strict action” would be taken against anyone behind attacks on military sites.

Khan’s dramatic arrest on Tuesday took place as he faced another set of corruption allegations in an Islamabad court, with armed agents from the National Accountability Bureau storming the building to take him into custody. The 70-year-old politician was removed from power last year following a no-confidence vote and has since been indicted on a litany of charges, including terrorism.” He is now awaiting his next hearing in a police compound in the Pakistani capital, where a court recently ordered him to be held for another eight days. 11 May, 2023 14:40
HomeWorld News

Pakistan’s top court orders release of former PM Imran Khan​

The judges ruled that the arrest of the opposition politician was illegal
Pakistan’s top court orders release of former PM Imran Khan

Supporters of former Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan protest in Hyderabad. © AFP / Akram Shahid

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ordered the release of former prime minister Imran Khan, whose arrest earlier this week triggered deadly protests across the country, Geo TV news channel has reported.

The court considered an appeal by Khan’s legal team on Thursday, ruling that the arrest of the opposition figure was illegal, according to the broadcaster.

The leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party was detained on an order from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday as soon as he arrived at a lower court in connection with a graft case against him. He has been held at a police compound in the capital, Islamabad, since then.

Khan’s spokesperson told Al Jazeera that the 70-year-old was apprehended in court before he could even appear before the judges, which was “in violation of all laws.” The PTI party claimed that it was not an arrest, but “an abduction,” and called on its supporters to take the streets.
Pakistan deploys army after Imran Khan's arrestREAD MORE: Pakistan deploys army after Imran Khan's arrest

Pakistan has been gripped by violent protests for the last three days, with demonstrators clashing with security forces and setting government buildings on fire in major cities across the country. The government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has deployed the military in an attempt to curb the unrest.

Some 2,500 of Khan’s supporters, including some top figures in his party, have been arrested so far. Local media have reported at least 11 protesters killed and hundreds of police officers wounded.

Numerous criminal cases have been launched against Khan since his removal from office after a no-confidence vote in April 2022. The PTI leader, who remains highly popular in the country, denies all accusations against him.

The politician claimed a year ago that he had been deposed as a result of a US-led “international conspiracy” and accused his opponents of receiving money from foreign forces.

Khan has been making active attempts to return to power since then, staging massive rallies across the country. The former premier survived an assassination attempt last November, escaping with a non-life-threatening leg wound after several bullets were fired at him.

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