Supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday attacked Pakistan’s army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi and the residence of its corps commander in Lahore following his dramatic arrest in a corruption case.
Khan, who was traveling from Lahore to the federal capital Islamabad, was undergoing a biometric process at the Islamabad High Court when paramilitary Rangers broke a glass window and arrested him after beating lawyers and Khan’s security personnel.
The arrest of the 70-year-old Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf president comes a day after the powerful military accused him of making baseless allegations against a senior officer of the ISI spy agency.
As news of his arrest by the Rangers spread, massive protests broke out in several cities across Pakistan. Protesters at several places resorted to violence and set fire to police vehicles and damaged public property.
The Rangers, which operate under the Ministry of Home Affairs, are usually commanded by officers seconded from the military.
Army’s sprawling headquarters in Rawalpindi
Khan’s supporters first broke down the main gate of the army’s sprawling headquarters in Rawalpindi, where troops were keeping a low profile. Protesters chanted anti-establishment slogans.
In Lahore, a large number of workers stormed the Corps Commander’s residence in Lahore and broke the gate and window panes. Army personnel, present on duty, however, made no attempt to stop the enraged protesters who surrounded them and chanted slogans against the PML-N-led government’s ‘handlers’ in the military establishment. Protesters staged a demonstration in the Cantonment area.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority suspend internet
Lahore was virtually cut off from the rest of the province due to protests on major roads including entry and exit points.
Punjab’s caretaker government has called in the Rangers to control the law and order situation in the most populous province and has imposed Section 144, under which no more than five people can gather in one place.
According to the Ministry of Interior, the ban on gatherings will be in place for two days. The Punjab government has also asked the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to suspend internet and mobile services in areas of the province where violent protests have taken place.
A large number of workers also pelted stones at the residence of Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah in Faisalabad city. Similar protests were held in Multan, Jhang, Gujranwala, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Khanewal, Vehari, Gujranwala, Hafizabad and Gujrat.
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