Protests erupted following the arrest of former Pakistani PM Imran Khan. Photo/France 24
ISLAMABAD – Protests erupted after the former Prime Minister Pakistan , Imran Khan , was arrested as he appeared in court. This situation sparked a dramatic escalation of political tensions in the country.
Khan arrived at the Islamabad High Court near Lahore, where he lives, to face charges in a corruption case.
His arrest is based on a new warrant from the National Accountability Bureau obtained last week in a separate corruption case in which Khan has not secured bail, making him vulnerable to arrest. Officials say he is scheduled to appear before an anti-corruption court on Wednesday.
“Imran Khan was arrested because he is wanted in a corruption case,” Pakistan Home Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan said at a news conference as quoted by the Associated Press, Tuesday (9/5/2023).
He accused Pakistan’s treasury of losing millions of dollars while Khan was in office due to illegal land purchases from a business tycoon.
Khan was taken to the garrison city of Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, for questioning at the offices of the National Accountability Bureau, according to police and government officials. He also had to undergo routine medical examinations, police said.
As news of the arrests spread, some 4,000 of Khan’s supporters stormed the official residence of the top regional commander in Lahore. The mob smashed windows and doors, damaged furniture and staged sit-ins as troops there retreated to escape the violence. Protesters also set fire to police vehicles and blocked main roads.
Protesters also demolished the main gate of the army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, where troops were holding back. Hundreds of protesters shouted pro-Khan slogans as they marched towards the sprawling building.
In the port city of Karachi, police brandished batons and fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of Khan’s supporters who had gathered on a main road.