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Violence erupts in nuclear power Pakistan after paramilitary forces arrest former PM Imran Khan

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan
by WorldTribune Staff, May 10, 2023

Violent protests erupted throughout Pakistan following the arrest on Tuesday of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, reports say.

Khan was arrested by paramilitary forces at the High Court in the capital, Islamabad. He was detained on charges of corruption brought by the National Accountability Bureau, which he said were politically motivated.

Footage showed dozens of officers arriving and detaining the 72-year-old, who was shoved into a vehicle and driven away.

"Pakistan's army plays a prominent role in politics, sometimes seizing power in military coups, and, on other occasions, pulling levers behind the scenes," the BBC noted.

Khan was ousted as prime minister in April of 2022 in a paramilitary coup. He has since been campaigning for early elections. General elections are due to be held later this year.

Khan charged the Biden Administration with engineering his exit following his meeting in Moscow with Vladimir Putin shortly before the invasion of Ukraine.

Khan also accused current Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif of colluding with the military to remove him from office.

Speaking to the BBC's Newshour, Khan's spokesman, Raoof Hasan, said he expected "the worst" and that the arrest could plunge the country "into chaos and anarchy".

"We're facing multiple crises. There is an economic crisis, there is a political crisis, there is a cost of livelihood crisis and consequently this occasion will be a catharsis for them to step out and I fear a fair amount of violence is going to be back," he said.

A member of Khan's legal team, Raja Mateen, said undue force was used against him at the court: "Mr. Khan went into the biometric office for the biometrics. The rangers went there, they broke the windows, they hit Mr. Khan on the head with a baton," said Mateen.


Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party called on its supporters to protest. In the hours after he was detained, violence was reported from cities including Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, and Peshawar.

At least one person was been killed in the protests in the city of Quetta, CNN reported.

As protests grew, mobile data services in the country were suspended on the instructions of the Interior Ministry, reports said.

"This is absolutely the last straw," the BBC cited protester Farida Roedad as saying. "Let there be anarchy, let there be chaos. If there is no Imran, there's nothing left in Pakistan. No one is there to take over."

In a video message filmed as he traveled to Islamabad - and released by the PTI before his arrest - Khan said he was ready for what lay ahead: "Come to me with warrants, my lawyers will be there. If you want to send me to jail, I am prepared for it."

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