Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s arrest on corruption charges has been top news in the media outlets since yesterday. The arrest has sparked nationwide protests that have turned violent in some areas, leading to at least eight deaths and over 1,000 arrests, according to the police.
The army has been deployed in some regions to maintain order and protect its properties that have been attacked by angry crowds. The military has issued a stern warning against further violence and described the day of Imran Khan’s arrest and the violace by PTI workers as a “dark day” for Pakistan.
The arrest marks a dramatic escalation of tensions between Imran Khan and the military, which has played a crucial role in Pakistani politics and society since the country’s creation in 1947. Imran Khan, a former cricket star, became Prime Minister in 2018 with the help of the military, which was unhappy as it thought the previous governments were corruption.
However, his popularity and performance have declined since then, as Pakistan faces multiple challenges, including an economic crisis, a pandemic, and a tense relationship with its neighbors India and Afghanistan. Imran Khan, who finds his roots in the military until his ouster from government, has also become more critical of the military’s interference in politics and society, which he sees as a threat to democracy and human rights.
The corruption charges against Imran Khan relate to his alleged sale of state gifts during his premiership and his alleged transfer of land for Al-Qadir University near Islamabad. If convicted, he could be disqualified from standing for office, which would end his political career and legacy.
His supporters and party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), have condemned the arrest as politically motivated and an attack on democracy. They have called for protests and strikes to demand his release and challenge the legitimacy of the government and the judiciary.
After Imran Khan’s arrest, the government and its allies, however, have defended the arrest as lawful and necessary to hold corrupt leaders accountable and restore public trust in the justice system. They have accused Imran Khan of abusing his power and privileges for personal gain and violating the constitution and laws of the country.
Imran Khan’s arrest and protests afterwards have disrupted normal life in Pakistan, with schools and businesses closed, roads blocked, and internet services restricted. The situation remains tense and volatile, as both sides show no signs of compromise or reconciliation.
The arrest of a former Prime Minister on corruption charges is not unusual in Pakistan, where many leaders and officials have faced similar accusations and legal challenges. However, the arrest of Imran Khan, a popular and charismatic leader, has broader implications for Pakistani politics and society, which are already facing multiple crises and challenges.
The arrest highlights the fragility of Pakistan’s democracy and institutions, which have been undermined by corruption, nepotism, and polarization.
Imran Khan’s arrest is not just a legal or political issue, but a moral and social one, as it affects the lives and aspirations of millions of Pakistanis who want a better future for themselves and their country. It is a test of their resilience, unity, and determination to overcome their challenges and build a more just, inclusive, and democratic society.