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Pakistan: Violent Protests Over Arrest Of Former PM Imran Khan

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Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s arrest on Tuesday sparked outrage among his supporters who engaged in violent clashes with security forces. Imran Khan appeared before the National Accountability Bureau Court on Wednesday.

Khan’s political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has called for a nationwide protest on Wednesday. PTI has condemned the politician’s arrest and urged supporters to voice against what it considers “rising fascism”. Along with protests the party has also plans of public meetings throughout Pakistan which it has scheduled and taken approval from the party leader even before his arrest.

Imran Khan was arrested in a case related to corruption at the High Court in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital. Dozens of police officers came to arrest the former prime minister. He was in court, at the time, regarding the case. However, he has denied corruption charges.

Protests have erupted across the nation with at least one person killed in the city of Quetta. His enraged supporters stomped the headquarters of the army in Rawalpindi and Corps Commander’s residence in Lahore.

Pakistan’s daily, Dawn, said that the workers of the party marched from Liberty Chowk to cantonment areas and protested outside Jinnah House. The protestors became violent and burned tyres and chanted anti-government slogans in Lahore. They also destroyed the Model Town office of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N) and set fire to the private residence of PM Shehbaz Sharif.

Lahore, Karachi and certain other areas have been under heavy security as the interior ministry gave ordered to suspend mobile data services across the nation. Nawaz Sharif’s Residence in Lahore has been sealed with containers as a security measure.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed his concern regarding ensuring that “whatever happens in Pakistan is consistent with the rule of law, with the constitution” while speaking from Washington.

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly stated that his country has “a longstanding and close relationship” with Commonwealth member Pakistan and that he wants to “see the rule of law adhered to”. Khan’s fans have gathered to protest in London’s Pakistan High Commission.

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