Pakistani government has taken a shocking step on Tuesday, when they forcefully arrested the former prime minister Imran Khan, the leader of the largest national political party (PTI), outside a court in the capital, Islamabad.
The 70-year-old politician was taken into custody as he prepared to attend a hearing on the dozens of charges against him ranging from alleged terrorism and corruption to treason and other criminal offenses.
Khan’s lawyer claimed that paramilitary forces physically assaulted him before taking him into custody and handing him over to anti-graft authorities accompanying them. Khan’s party denounced their leader’s arrest.
“State terrorism – breaking into IHC (Islamabad High Court) premises to abduct Imran Khan from court premises. Law of the jungle in operation. Rangers beat the lawyers, used violence on Imran Khan, and abducted him,” tweeted Shireen Mazari, a close aide to the opposition leader, along with a purported video of security action.
Video broadcast on local TV channels showed Khan – who has a pronounced limp since being shot at during an assassination attempt last year – being manhandled by dozens of paramilitary rangers into an armoured car inside the Islamabad High Court premises.
Khan’s arrest came a day after the military warned him against making “baseless allegations” after he again accused a senior army officer of plotting to kill him. Pakistan Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah confirmed Khan’s arrest, rejecting charges of physical assault and telling local media about a corruption case against the opposition politician.
The rebuke late Monday underscored how far Khan’s relations have deteriorated with the military, which backed his rise to power in 2018 but withdrew its support ahead of a parliamentary vote of no confidence that ousted him last year.
“The senior army leadership is uninterested in repairing the rift between itself and Khan,” said Michael Kugelman, director of the South Asia Institute at the Wilson Center. “So with this arrest, it’s likely sending a message that the gloves are very much off.”
There are growing rumors that Imran Khan’s phone has been scanned at Kohsar Complex, ISI Islamabad Sector Headquarters at Jinnah Super Market. It is being alleged that Imran Khan is in the custody of ISI, and has been manhandled.
Massive riots spread across Pakistan, Civilians attacked Pakistani Army
As the news of Khan’s arrest spread, massive protests broke out in several cities across Pakistan. Supporters of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan throws stones after police fire tear gas to disperse them protesting against the arrest of their leader in Lahore.
PTI supporters immediately took to the streets in Islamabad and other parts of the country to protest the arrest. Police in Islamabad dispersed protesters and detained dozens of them in the process. Protesters and eyewitnesses reported firing by security forces at men and women outside army and ISI installations in several cities, injuring many protesters.
A large number of Khan supporters gathered outside the military headquarters in Rawalpindi and chanted slogans against the army, something that has not been seen in the recent history of Pakistan.
Reports emerging of large scale violence, arson, clashes and rioting in many parts of Pakistan after Imran Khan’s arrest by Pakistan Rangers. Mob has attacked Pakistan Army’s Mardan Cantt. Corps Commander home in Lahore attacked and broken to pieces. Several memorials of Pakistan Army soldiers destroyed, burnt and broken. Public broke down Pakistan Army Memorials and Honours at Sargodha Cantt in Pakistan.
Even Pakistan Army’s General Head Quarters attacked by civil protesters in support of Imran Khan. This is indeed an unprecedented in the history of Pakistan.
Even Pakistan’s spy agency ISI’s headquarter has been attacked by the civilians, which is again an unprecedented act in the history of Pakistan.
Pakistani Army is attacking civilians
Pakistani Army is doing what they are expert at, attacking their own people. There are hundreds of videos available on social media, which show how civilians have been attacked by their own Army. Pakistani Army has opened fire on people, they have arrested thousands of civilians, abducted hundreds of women in the name of crack down against the ‘mob’.
Is Pakistan looming for another Military Coup?
It is quite visible that there is a situation of a total civil unrest across the Pakistan. This time people have stepped up against the Pakistani Army and ISI as well, which has never heard or seen ever in the history of Pakistan in last 75 years.
We have seen how civilians are attacking Army Cantonments and headquarters, looting their assets and destroying the buildings. Amid such a situation Pakistani Army has only one option left, it will be stepping in and may declare the Martial Law very soon.
Just few days back, the former Pakistan Prime Minster Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has warned about a possible military takeover if the ongoing political and economic crises in the country tend to continue. Referring to the country’s history of ‘long periods of martial law’, Abbasi said military had taken over Pakistan in ‘much less severe circumstances’ and that the current condition is severe.
“Martial law always remained a possibility if the system failed or when there was a conflict between institutions and the political leadership was unable to chart a way forward,” the senior leader of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party was quoted as saying by The Dawn. However, he hoped that no extra-constitutional measure was considered as option, adding that an army takeover would only make things worse.
Pakistan is reeling under a sever economic crisis which further led to a political stalemate between Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his predecessor Imran Khan. The country’s foreign exchange reserves have plummeted to $4 billion and now it is in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an essential bailout.
Relations between the ruling coalition and the country’s Supreme Court have soured since the PML-N government pushing for a bill that would dilute powers of the chief justice of Pakistan.
Now this situation is extremely favorable for Pakistani Army, as Pakistani PM is not in the country and Army is unofficially running and controlling the country at this moment. If everything goes as per their plan, then Pakistani CAOS may declare Martial Law and takeover the nation, just like they did in the past.