Pakistan was already reeling under a financial crisis, and the arrest of former Pakistan Prime Minister and chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan, on Tuesday (May 9). has further deteriorated the country's situation.
Khan's arrest from outside the Islamabad High Court triggered widespread violence, arson and protests across the country. His supporters burnt buildings, pelted stones and vandalized vehicles. The protesters also torched the residence of the corps commander in Lahore.
Soon after Khan's arrest, a series of protests erupted in various parts of the country. Thousands of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar took to the streets.
In Islamabad, hundreds of PTI activists blocked the Kashmir Highway suspending traffic on either side. Protesters gathered outside Imran's Zaman Park residence in Lahore and blocked the adjacent roads by burning tyres and vehicles.
According to India Today, the protests and rioting have claimed six lives across the country. Demonstrators in Karachi gathered outside the PTI office to register their protest, on the city’s busiest Shahrah-e-Faisal Road.
Protesters were reported storming the Pakistan Army headquarters and chanting slogans against the establishment in Rawalpindi. They surrounded the Corps Commander's residence and stayed up all night in Lahore after the arrest.
Responding to protest reports, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) immediately restricted internet use and suspended access to social media sites including Twitter, YouTube and Facebook across Pakistan.
Due to the emergency situation in the country, the federation for private schools in Pakistan has declared that all private schools in the country will be closed today (May 10). The Punjab Higher Education Department has announced the shutting down of all colleges and universities and the postponement of an examination scheduled for today.
The Punjab Government imposed Section 144 of the Pakistan Penal Code banning meetings, gatherings, congregations and demonstrations to maintain law and order. It also empowers the administration to arrest members of the public who engage in such gatherings.
To decide upon the future course of protests, the PTI constituted a six-member body chaired by senior Vice Chairperson Shah Mahmood Qureshi. In a video message, Qureshi urged protesters to remain peaceful and not to take law and order into their own hands.
PTI Supporters in London gathered outside the Pakistan High Commission yesterday evening waving flags in support of the former PM. In response to the deteriorating situation, Police have carried out raids and preventively detained supporters and members of Khan's party since his arrest.
PTI, on Twitter, posted a video and alleged abduction of ex-Punjab governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema.
سابق گورنر پنجاب عمر سرفراز چیمہ کو ان کے گھر سے نامعلوم افراد نے اغواء کرلیا۔ #ReleaseImranKhan pic.twitter.com/XKrnZ2VuYt— PTI (@PTIofficial) May 10, 2023
After the reports of Imran Khan being presented at Police Lines Guest House in Islamabad’s H-11 amidst heavy security, Shah Mahmood Qureshi tweeted questioning the government, why Khan isn't given proper legal representation and why aren't senior PTI members are allowed to meet Khan.