Imran Khan’s Party Calls For Islamabad Gathering Amid Protests Over Arrest

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Asserting that ongoing nationwide protests will continue until the release of former Pakistan PM Imran Khan, his party has instructed the party leaders, workers, and supporters to gather at the Islamabad Judicial Complex at 8 am on Wednesday. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said a march to the Supreme Court would follow the gathering.

NPR’s Diaa Hadid reports from Islamabad that Khan’s supporters rushed into the streets when news of his arrest broke. He says they chanted, “Imran Khan is our red line; don’t cross it.” In shared videos, some women appeared to throw their headscarves over the shoulder of police in riot gear, triggering dozens more to surge toward the complex gate. Others threw stones at the police and smashed the windows of cars.

Police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds, which blocked roads in several cities. According to media reports, some of the crowds also stormed military buildings in Lahore and Rawalpindi. The Pakistani army has not commented on the alleged protests.

The PTI has alleged that Khan’s arrest was part of a plot to prevent him from addressing an opposition rally scheduled for Saturday. The party says it has contacted the army chief to discuss the matter and asked him to ensure that Khan can address the rally.

Khan’s party says it will file a petition in the Supreme Court to challenge the order banning demonstrations. The petition will argue that the caretaker government’s decision violates the constitution and is undemocratic. The Pakistani Taliban has also urged its supporters to join the protests.

Despite the widespread outrage, the caretaker government has ordered the Pakistani army to exercise restraint. It is the third time the military has complied with a government request to control the escalating violence.

Pakistan’s military has also stepped up security in the capital, Islamabad. Hundreds of troops have been deployed to protect sensitive sites, including the presidential palace and a military academy. The military has also imposed a curfew in the city.

The United States, the U.K., and Canada have all issued new travel advisories for Pakistan, citing political unrest over the arrest of Khan. The advisory notes that terrorist attacks remain a severe threat and encourage U.S. citizens to monitor local news for information on potential attacks. The warning applies to all parts of the country, including the capital. Still, it emphasizes the risks for Americans in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the eastern city of Lahore. The advisory also recommends that Americans seek shelter with relatives or at hotels if possible. Those with no safe place to stay should avoid public areas as much as possible.

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