The recent arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan has sparked nationwide protests across the country, leading to violent clashes between party supporters and security forces.
Reacting to the volatile situation, the United Nations has taken notice of protests and called for all parties to refrain from violence.
In a statement for Pakistan, UN Secretary General António Guterres appealed to all parties to respect the right to peaceful assembly, according to Farhan Haq, deputy spokesperson for the Secretary-General. The UN chief also urged law-enforcers to follow the law while enforcing it against Imran Khan.
“The Secretary-General urges the authorities to respect due process and the rule of law in proceedings brought against former Prime Minister Khan,” the spokesman said.
The spokesperson for the Secretary-General emphasised the need for peaceful resolution of conflicts.
Khan’s arrest was made by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday, as he appeared in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for bail in different cases. He was taken into custody by paratroopers in large numbers from the high court’s premises.
The arrest of Khan from the IHC premises led to violent clashes across the country, during which hundreds of party workers, including former federal ministers Asad Umar, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Fawad Chaudhry and Ali Zaidi were detained.
The party supporters in several cities took to the streets and clashed with security forces, who fired tear gas and tried to beat them back.
Videos circulating on social media showed some supporters wielding sticks and face masks entering the army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi and shouting angry slogans. Social media was also down in several parts of the country.
The situation remains currently tense as the government has deployed additional security forces to maintain law and order.