Saturday, June 22, 2024
Advertisement
  1. You Are At:
  2. News
  3. World
  4. Pakistan: Violent protests intensify after Imran Khan indicted in corruption case; PM appeals for peace

Pakistan: Violent protests intensify after Imran Khan indicted in corruption case; PM appeals for peace

Khan’s arrest Tuesday set off violent clashes involving his supporters and police in several cities, including Islamabad, that left at least six people dead, and his continued detention raised the prospect of more unrest.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Islamabad Updated on: May 10, 2023 23:59 IST
Pakistan engulfs in violent protests after Imran Khan's
Image Source : AP Pakistan engulfs in violent protests after Imran Khan's arrest

Pakistan political chaos: Amid a chaotic situation in Pakistan, a court ruled that former Prime Minister Imran Khan can be held for eight days in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). 

This came a day after the popular opposition leader was dragged from a courtroom and arrested on corruption charges, deepening the country’s political turmoil.

Khan’s arrest Tuesday set off violent clashes involving his supporters and police in several cities, including Islamabad, that left at least six people dead, and his continued detention raised the prospect of more unrest.

PM Shehbaz says Khan's arrest was not a part of revenge

Following a Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, addressed the nation at around 10 pm, where he denounced the attacks on public property and military installations. Also, he approved the deployment of troops in the capital of Islamabad, in the country’s most populous province of Punjab, and the volatile northwest.

During his televised address, Sharif said his predecessor should take a lesson from his brother and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif who was also framed in "false" cases when Imran was in power.

"Nawaz was also arrested by NAB on false corruption charges, but he did not incite violence," said Sharif. "Instead, he faced trials and come clean. You should also face trials," he added.

Khan indicted in corruption case

Amid heightened security, Khan appeared Wednesday before a judge at a temporary court in the police compound. Pakistan’s GEO television broadcast a video showing him seated in a chair, holding documents. He appeared calm but tired.

In the new charges, Khan was accused of accepting millions of dollars worth of property in exchange for providing benefits to a real estate tycoon. The National Accountability Bureau asked to hold him for 14 days, but the tribunal granted eight days.

Khan’s legal team has challenged the arrest in an Islamabad court and is considering doing the same at the country’s Supreme Court.

Khan was finally indicted Wednesday in the original graft case for which he appeared at the Islamabad court on Tuesday, pleading not guilty. In that case, he faced multiple graft charges brought by Islamabad police.

As he showed up, the courtroom was stormed by dozens of agents from the accountability bureau, backed by paramilitary troops, breaking windows after Khan’s guards refused to open the door.

Massive protests across Pakistan

In the latest unrest, thousands of protesters stormed a radio station and offices of the state-run agency in the northwestern city of Peshawar. Some employees were trapped inside, according to police. Moreover, mobs angered by the dramatic arrest set fire to the residence of a top army general in the eastern city of Lahore, and supporters attacked the military’s headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi near Islamabad.

They did not reach the main building housing the offices of army chief Gen. Asim Munir.

Demonstrators also tried to reach the prime minister’s residence in Lahore but were driven off by baton-wielding police. Still, others attacked vehicles carrying troops, hitting armed soldiers with sticks. So far, police and soldiers have not opened fire at protesters.

Army deployed in Punjab and Islamabad

In eastern Punjab province, the local government asked the army to step in after authorities said 157 police were injured in clashes with protesters. Besides, the army was also deployed in Islamabad and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The government said the deployment came in the backdrop of violent protests and added they would take strict action. 

Army warns protestors 

The military weighed Wednesday with a strongly worded statement, vowing to take stern action against those seeking to push Pakistan toward a “civil war.” It called the organized attacks on its installations a “black chapter” in the country’s political history. Police have arrested 945 Khan supporters in eastern Punjab province alone since Tuesday — including Asad Umar and Sarfraz Cheema, two senior leaders from Khan’s party.

Internet, schools shut down

Amid the violence, Pakistan’s telecommunication authority blocked social media, including Twitter. The government also suspended internet service in Islamabad and other cities. Classes at some private schools were cancelled Wednesday, and several social media sites remained suspended.

Amnesty International said it was alarmed by reports of authorities blocking access to internet networks and social media. It urged authorities to show restraint, saying clashes between law enforcement and Khan’s supporters risk human rights violations.

As the violence spread, many stayed home. The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad cancelled all its Wednesday consular appointments following Khan’s arrest and issued a nationwide alert, telling Americans to review their personal security plans and avoid large crowds.

(With inputs from AP)

Also Read: Pakistan PM Shehbaz strong message to Imran Khan: 'My brother Nawaz was also arrested by NAB, but...'

Advertisement

Read all the Breaking News Live on indiatvnews.com and Get Latest English News & Updates from World

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement