ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan geared up for more chaos in a day after former prime minister Imran Khan was dragged out of a courtroom in Islamabad and his supporters clashed with police across the country. When he appeared in court on Wednesday, a judge was asked to approve keeping him in custody for up to 14 days.
Khan, who lost power last year but remains the country’s most popular dissident figure, is the seventh former prime minister to be arrested in Pakistan. At least one person was killed in the southwestern city of Quetta and dozens were injured across the country.
A judge is expected to rule on the request for 14 days of detention later Wednesday, officials said.
Pakistan’s Teherik-e-Insaf party, led by Khan, called on demonstrators to keep the peace hours after a mob enraged by a dramatic arrest set fire to the residence of an army general in the eastern city of Lahore.
Khan was in court on Tuesday over multiple corruption charges filed by Islamabad police when dozens of agents from the National Accountability Service, backed by paramilitary forces, burst into the courtroom to guard Khan. After the employee refused to open the door, he broke the window.
Khan’s supporters attacked the army’s headquarters at the garrison Rawalpindi near the capital Islamabad, but failed to reach the main building housing the offices of General Asim Mounir, Chief of War.
Other demonstrators tried to reach the prime minister’s office in Lahore, but were chased away by police with batons. Some attacked vehicles carrying soldiers and beat armed soldiers with sticks. So far, police and soldiers have not fired at protesters.
The military has not commented on the attack on the facility.
Police in eastern Punjab have arrested 945 Khan supporters since Tuesday, according to a police statement on Wednesday. This includes Asad Umar, a senior leader of Khan’s party. Dozens of Khan supporters were also detained in Islamabad, Karachi and Peshawar.
Khan’s party’s senior vice president, Shah Mahmoud Qureshi, called for peaceful demonstrations on Wednesday, urging supporters to: He said the party is considering challenging Khan’s arrest in the Supreme Court.
On Wednesday morning, police said at least 2,000 protesters still surrounded the fire-damaged residence of Lahore regional commander Lieutenant General Salman Fayaz Ghani. They chanted slogans such as “Khan is our red line and you crossed it” in the army. has been moved to a safer location.
Police have been mobilized across the country, placing shipping containers on roads leading to Islamabad’s sprawling police compound where Khan is being held. Khan is scheduled to appear before a judge on the same premises later today in a temporary court set up there for security reasons, according to a government notice.
Khan’s lawyer, Babal Awan, said he was about to go to court.
Amid violence, Pakistan Pakistan’s telecommunications authorities blocked social media, including Twitter, on Tuesday. The government has also suspended internet services in the capital Islamabad and other cities. Some private school classes were canceled Wednesday.
Human rights group Amnesty International said it was alarmed by reports that Pakistani authorities were blocking access to mobile internet networks and social media. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube were suspended in the country for two days. . The group called on authorities to show restraint, saying clashes between law enforcement and Khan’s supporters risked human rights violations.
The National Accountability Office has detained and investigated former public officials, including former prime ministers, politicians and veterans. However, some see the NAB as a tool used by those in power, especially the military, to crack down on political opponents.
When Khan was in power, his government arrested then-opposition leader Sharif through the NAB. Sharif was facing multiple corruption scandals when he ousted Khan in a no-confidence vote in 2022. The charges were later dropped due to lack of evidence.
The current prime minister’s brother, Nawaz Sharif, who also served as prime minister, has been arrested several times on suspicion of corruption.
In March police raided Khan’s Lahore residence and attempted to arrest him in a corruption case related to concealing income from the sale of public gifts. Dozens of people, including police, were injured in the ensuing clashes. Khan was not arrested at the time and was later released on bail.
Diplomats from various countries and ordinary people in Pakistan stayed at home as the violence spread on Wednesday. The US embassy in Islamabad canceled all consular appointments for Wednesday after Khan’s arrest and issued a nationwide warning telling Americans to review their personal security plans and avoid large crowds. .
The story was modified to show that Imran Khan is 70 years old instead of 71.
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https://wgnradio.com/news/international/pakistan-braces-for-turmoil-as-ex-pm-khan-due-in-court/ Pakistan puts an end to violence as Imran Khan appears in court | WGN Radio 720