Pakistan on fire: protesters attacked military bases after the arrest of a popular politician
Pakistani police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protests, but this did not help either
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was arrested at the Supreme Court building in Islamabad, where he arrived to testify. As writes ReutersKhan’s arrest warrant was issued by the National Accountability Bureau, which accused him of misappropriating Al-Qadir Trust funds and selling gifts from foreign heads of state.
A spokesman for the ex-prime minister, Rauf Hassan, said that the politician was detained before the start of the hearings, and this is a “violation of all existing laws.” Khan’s supporters even announced his abduction.
“He was kidnapped from the courthouse, dozens of lawyers and ordinary people were tortured. Imran was taken away by unknown persons in an unknown direction,” Fawad Chaudhry, Deputy Prime Minister of the opposition Movement for Justice party, said on Twitter. Khan has been the leader of this party for over 27 years.
Imran Khan, 70, was arrested on the fourth attempt. The Islamabad District Court decided to arrest the politician at the end of February, after which the police tried three times to detain him at home. Supporters of the former prime minister with fierce resistance blocked all the entrances of the security forces to the Khan’s residence, and the authorities, trying to avoid large-scale clashes, did not take decisive action until that moment.
Khan’s party called on its supporters to protest, and within hours, hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis began blockading military bases and roadblocks, as well as setting fire to the houses and cars of officials across the country. Authorities in three of the four provinces have put in place an emergency order banning all public gatherings and actions.
Pakistani police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protests, but this did not help either. By order of the high command of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, mobile data services were suspended – now neither social networks nor instant messengers work in the country. The security forces are preparing to tighten the protests and warn of the opening of fire to kill.
After becoming the country’s prime minister in 2018, Imran Khan chose a course of rapprochement with Russia and China, which did not please Western leaders, and especially the United States. Then-U.S. President Donald Trump said he personally froze $1.3 billion in military aid to Pakistan because “Islamabad made no effort to help Washington on its part.”
In April last year, the election commission nevertheless deprived Khan of his parliamentary mandate, finding him guilty of selling 52 valuables stored in Toshakhan [государственной сокровищнице Пакистана – прим.ред.], and in concealing information about the gifts he received from foreign leaders. The ex-premier himself believes that the US intelligence services, which paid $1 million for voting against him, are behind his removal from office.
The situation in Pakistan is compounded by the severe economic and climate crisis that the country has found itself in after last year’s severe flooding. In addition, unlike Sudan, where the two warring political forces are also now clashing, Pakistan is a nuclear power with a population of more than 200 million people. Therefore, the scale of the civil war in the country can shake the whole of Asia.