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Pakistan deploys troops to quell riots over ex-PM Khan's arrest

International Desk |
Update: 2023-05-11 10:38:54
Pakistan deploys troops to quell riots over ex-PM Khan's arrest

Pakistan's political turmoil intensified late Wednesday (May 10) with violent nationwide protests swelling and the government deploying the military, following the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan who was ordered to be held for another eight days on new corruption charges.

In an address to the nation, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif warned that those involved in violence would be given exemplary punishment.

The prime minister said the unrest by Khan's supporters “damaged sensitive public and private property," forcing him to deploy the military in the capital of Islamabad, the most populous province of Punjab and in volatile regions of the northwest.

After Khan was arrested Tuesday, crowds in Islamabad and other major cities blocked roads, clashed with police, as well as set fire to police checkpoints and military facilities in violence that left six people dead and hundreds arrested.

On Wednesday, protesters stormed a radio station in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

“Such scenes were never seen by the people of Pakistan,” Sharif said, following a Cabinet meeting. "Even patients were taken out of ambulances and ambulances were set on fire.”

Sharif said Khan was arrested because of his involvement in corruption, and that there was evidence available to back up these charges.

Khan, who was ousted in a no-confidence vote last year by Sharif is currently being held at a police compound in Islamabad.

Police also arrested Fawad Chaudhry, Khan's deputy and vice president of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, outside the Supreme Court in Islamabad. Chaudhry, an outspoken government critic, had insisted that he had been granted legal protection from arrest and the police did not specify the charges.

The party has appealed for calm, but the country is on high alert.

Source CNA

BDST: 1037 HRS, MAY 11, 2023

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