South Asia

Pakistan struggles to deal with aftermath of violent protests after Khan’s arrest

Pakistan on Wednesday grappled with the aftermath of protests that erupted across the country following the arrest of its former Prime Minister Imran Khan the day before.

In various cities including Khan’s hometown of Lahore, buildings were burnt and debris including charred vehicles blocked the road disrupting traffic.

“There is total chaos across the country. There are exams going on, and school children will suffer. There is no public transport service across the city. Everyone is facing great difficulties,” said Karachi resident Raja Imran.

“Yesterday, they inflicted a great atrocity on us. They crossed our red line. But they should not expect that after that we are going to sit quietly. We are going to teach them a lesson that they will remember all their lives,” said Ghulam Farooq, a PTI supporter.

The former Prime Minister’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday (May 9) called for nationwide protests, hours after Pakistan’s anti-corruption agency arrested Khan at Islamabad High Court, prompting hundreds of Khan supporters to block streets and major highways.

“When they saw the most popular leader being dragged by Islamabad police, there was the reaction all over the country. From Karachi to Khyber, people are out in the streets. They’re protesting and they will continue to protest. But I have asked them that this is their legal constitutional right. Keep it peaceful. Do not get into people’s houses. Do not destroy public or private property, but peaceful protest is our right,” a senior PTI member Shah Mehmoud Qureshi said.

A police spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday that Khan will not be brought to court and his scheduled hearing will take place at the location where he is being held under custody in the Islamabad Police Lines area.