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Pakistan Rocked By Protests As Imran Khan Is Sent To Custody

Above Photo: Protests in Karachi, Pakistan after the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan. CGTN.

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was arrested on Tuesday, was sent into custody of the National Accountability Bureau on Wednesday.

He was also indicted separately in a case related to do with illegal sale of gits. Protests have broken out across the country with over a 1,000 people arrested.

Massive protests broke out across Pakistan on May 9, Tuesday, after the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan. On Wednesday, a court sent the leader of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) into eight days of detention with the National Accountability Bureau. A separate judge also indicted him in a case relating to unlawful selling of state gifts [known as the Toshakhana case].

Protesters set fire to buildings in various parts of the country. There have been reports of deaths during the protests though the exact toll is not clear yet. The Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported that three people had been killed in the city of Peshawar. Other reports mentioned four deaths in various cities. Over 1,000 people have been arrested in Punjab province alone

The army has been deployed in the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. Internet services have been suspended in the country.

On Tuesday, protesters forced into the General Headquarters of the Pakistani army in Rawalpindi, chanting slogans against the government. In Lahore, the residence of the Corps Commander was attacked.

In the early hours of Wednesday, protestors set fire to the central secretariat of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) party.

Senior leader and secretary general of the Pakistan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, Asad Umar, was arrested at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday, May 10.

The political crisis in the country took a dramatic turn on Tuesday after Imran Khan was arrested from the IHC premises by paramilitary forces. Khan, 70, was present at the court for a hearing in one of the graft cases against him. The Islamabad police later released a statement saying that Khan had been arrested in relation to the Al Qadir Trust case.

Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi, who head the Al Qadir Trust, are accused of accepting a sum of PKR 5 billion during Khan’s tenure as prime minister (2018-2022) in exchange for whitewashing PKR 50 (US$ 0.18) billion that was channeled back by the UK government to Pakistan in relation to this case.

The Al Qadir Trust case is one of the several cases of corruption laid against Khan.

Footage of Khan’s arrest shows paramilitary rangers grabbing him by the collar as he is pushed into a police van outside the IHC premises. Sharing the video, PTI’s Twitter handle said, “Rangers abducted PTI Chief Imran Khan, these are the visuals. Pakistan’s brave people must come out and defend their country.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has issued no official statement on the arrest of Imran Khan. However, hours before the arrest took place, Sharif had taken to Twitter to pose counter questions to Khan, blaming him for “maligning Pakistan Army” and “mudslinging of the leadership of Army and Intelligence Agency.”

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