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Several dead during violent protests as Imran Khan to be held for eight days

In Pakistan, violent protests over Imran Khan’s arrest have resulted in at least five deaths and hundreds of detentions. Imran is the former Prime Minister who was remanded for eight days in custody.

Authorities said that a court hearing was held today in the police compound, where Mr Khan is being detained, to determine if he could be held for up to fourteen days.

A judge ruled that he could be detained for questioning about corruption charges for a little over a week.

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“A very tense time for Pakistan”

GEO TV in Pakistan broadcasted footage of Mr Khan before the judge within the temporary courtroom. Former premier Khan was seen sitting in a chair holding documents and appearing tired.

The 70-year old was detained by security forces on Tuesday at the High Court of the capital and then dragged in an armored vehicle and driven off.

Since then, violent clashes between his supporters, and the police, have erupted in several cities. One death was recorded in Quetta in southern Pakistan, and four more in Peshawar, in northwestern Pakistan.

Picture: PTI official. Pic: PTIofficial
Picture: Imran Khan supporters in Peshawar set objects on fire. Pic: AP

In three of Pakistan’s four provinces, authorities have issued an emergency order that bans all gatherings in the wake of violence.

Two provinces have requested that the federal government deploy troops in order to restore peace.

The police said that 945 supporters of Mr Khan have been arrested, while more than 130 police officers were injured. 25 police vehicles have also been set ablaze, and 14 government buildings have been severely damaged or looted.

Image: Violence between Mr Khan supporters and the police in Karachi. Pakistan. Pictures: AP

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) party has called for peaceful protests in response to the arrest of Mr Khan.

PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi said, “We will continue to call PTI workers and supporters as well as the people of Pakistan into the streets for a peaceful protest against these unconstitutional actions.”

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Why the unrest in Pakistan is important

He said the leadership of the party is located in Islamabad, and that they would challenge Mr Khan’s arrest at the supreme court.

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Khan lawyer claims arrest was a’state abduction

As part of an upcoming protest march, Mr Khan’s supporters from the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the northwest have been told to gather at the city of Swabi before departing for Islamabad.

Sky News Pakistan has seen videos of civilians breaking into army bases and setting army vehicles alight.

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Image: A billboard has been set on fire in Lahore. Pakistan. Pic: AP
Image: A police officer injured in Karachi, Pakistan

The home of Lieutenant-General Salman Fayyaz Ghania, a top military chief in Lahore’s eastern part, was set ablaze.

Police reported that at least 2,000 people were still protesting outside the house on Wednesday morning. They were chanting slogans such as “Khan is a red line for us and you’ve crossed it”.

Police in Karachi fired tear gas at Mr Khan’s supporters to disperse them.

Ahsan Iqbal, Minister of Planning, said at a press conference: “This cannot be tolerated. The law will take its own course.” These violent attacks did not result from a public outcry, but were planned by PTI members.

According to Pakistan’s telecom authority, internet services in the country have been suspended and Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook are no longer accessible.

Picture: Pakistani paramilitary forces outside court. Photo: AP
Image: Mr Khan supporters chant slogans in front of burning tires at a protest held in Hyderabad, Pakistan. Photo: AP

The arrest of Mr Khan came just a day after the powerful military of the country criticized him for accusing repeatedly a senior officer of trying his assassination, and the former chief of the armed forces of being behind the removal of his power in April last year.

He recorded a message video before going to Islamabad. In it, he claimed that officials were trying to arrest him to stop him from running for office.

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Image: Imran made a video before his arrest

The cricketing-hero-turned-politician – who has been pushing for new elections – has denounced the cases against him, which include terrorism charges, as a politically motivated plot by his successor as prime minister, Shahbaz Sharif.

If convicted, he could be barred from holding any public office. A general election is scheduled for November.

Pakistan’s Planning Minister, Mr Iqbal said, “Imran will face the law. If he is cleared, he can run for elections. But if found guilty, he must face the consequences.”

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Imran khan’s arrest is a matter of internal concern

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office warned that further disruptions could occur in Pakistan, and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that Britain was closely monitoring the situation.

“The arrest is an internal issue for Pakistan.” We support democratic peaceful processes and the rule of the law, and we monitor the situation closely,” said Mr Sunak.


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