1684019429 Call for Demonstrations Pakistan Force Tests Are Entering a New

Call for Demonstrations: Pakistan Force Tests Are Entering a New Round

In addition, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced tough measures against Khan supporters who were involved in the violent protests. Months-long tensions flared last week after Khan was arrested on corruption charges on Tuesday. According to the Interior Ministry, at least eight people died and 300 were injured in the street battles that followed. At least 2,800 people were arrested. The protests were fueled by the fallout from Pakistan’s severe economic crisis.

Former Prime Minister Khan has to answer in court in about 100 cases. Observers assume that the procedure is politically motivated. If convicted, he could be banned from political office after parliamentary elections scheduled for autumn. On Friday, Khan was surprisingly released from prison under tight security for two weeks.

Supporters of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's party

APA/AFP/Arif Ali supporters of Khan gathered outside his residence in Lahore on Saturday

Khan: Inadmissible military interference

In a speech on Saturday, Khan urged his supporters to hold further protests on Sunday. Across the country, his supporters are expected to protest in their streets and villages, Khan announced via YouTube. As of Wednesday, he wants to resume his campaign for new immediate elections. The former prime minister also accused the military of undue interference in politics: “Nobody can use force to eliminate a political party and put him in jail.”

According to the Dawn newspaper, his speech was not broadcast on Pakistani television, although a court recently lifted a ban on broadcasting his speeches. Khan has been fighting for a political comeback for nearly a year and has again mobilized tens of thousands of supporters.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan with security forces

Portal/Akhtar Soomro Khan was released from prison on a two-week bail on Friday

The military has played a key role in politics since Pakistan’s founding 75 years ago and has maintained power, at least indirectly through military-backed candidates, even in civilian governments. Open criticism of the military is an exception in Pakistan.

Anti-terrorist procedures against protesters announced

Prime Minister Sharif, in turn, threatened those who participated in the riots. Those responsible for “disgraceful incidents of arson, looting, sabotage and damage to public and private property” must be arrested within 72 hours. He announced anti-terror court judgments for these people.

An internet ban was imposed for several days following the riots. After a brief suspension on Friday, according to Portal, there were renewed reports on Saturday of blocked access to Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif

Portal/Denis Balibouse Prime Minister Sherif announced tough measures against violent protesters

However, if the government cracks down on protesters too severely, it could undermine popular support for the military. Many Pakistanis still see the military as a moderating force, helping to keep corrupt political dynasties in check. But since Khan’s fall from power by parliament and Khan’s criticism of the military, his popularity has plummeted.

Khan ousted in no-confidence vote

Former cricket star Khan came to power in the 2018 general election amid allegations that the powerful military had rigged the vote in his favor. Despite his great popularity, the former Prime Minister disappointed during his tenure. Even under Khan, the opposition at the time was paralyzed with accusations. During his reign, Khan’s relationship with the military deteriorated. He was finally overthrown by a no-confidence vote in April 2022.

Khan continued to criticize the military after leaving politics. For example, he accused a senior general in Pakistan’s military intelligence agency of being behind a shootout in which he was wounded in November. And he has ignored court dates on several corruption cases filed against him, all but daring authorities to arrest him. His supporters followed suit, using social media to denigrate the military and accuse them of undermining democracy.