A police officer fires tear gas to disperse the supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan, during a protest against his arrest, in Karachi, Pakistan May 9, 2023. — Reuters

US, UK urge govt to follow democratic norms in light of Imran Khan’s arrest

by Pakistan News
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A police officer fires tear gas to disperse the supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan, during a protest against his arrest, in Karachi, Pakistan May 9, 2023. — Reuters 
  • State Dept calls for democratic response to ongoing protests.
  • UK wants to see “peaceful democracy” in Pakistan. 
  • PTI Chairman Imran Khan was arrested a day earlier in a graft case.

Stressing the adherence to rule of law in light of the current political situation in the country, the United States and United Kingdom have called for a democratic response to the protests against the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.

Imran Khan was taken into custody on Tuesday, from the premises of Islamabad High Court (IHC), where he had gone to seek bail in multiple cases registered against him ranging from terrorism to money laundering.

“The authorities [in Pakistan] should also respond in accordance with the rights and democratic rules,” the US States Department spokesperson said while urging the former premier’s supporters to protest peacefully.

All the protesters are urged to express their concerns peacefully, the spokesperson said in response to Geo News’ request for comment on Khan’s arrest in the Al-Qadir Trust case.

He said that the State Department was aware of the arrest but “US does not have a position” in regard with a specific political candidate or party.

“We demand respect for democratic values ​​and the rule of law throughout the world,” the spokesman added.

UK wants to see ‘peaceful democracy’ in Pakistan

On the other hand, UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said that his country wanted to see “peaceful democracy” in Pakistan. The statement came during his visit to the US

“We want to see peaceful democracy in that country. We want to see the rule of law adhered to,” the official said.

When asked about the arrest of the former prime minister, Cleverly said:

“I’m uncomfortable to speculate any further without having a detailed briefing on that.”

Imran Khan’s arrest

On Tuesday, The PTI chairman was arrested as part of NAB’s investigation in the Al-Qadir Trust case ahead of his appearance before the IHC to seek bail in multiple FIRs registered against him.

Rangers personnel driving a black Toyota Hilux Vigo took Imran Khan away to NAB Rawalpindi.

It appears Khan got wind of his arrest hours earlier as before leaving for the court the PTI chief said: “If someone has a warrant, they should directly bring it to me. Bring the warrant, my lawyer will be there. I’m ready to go to the jail myself.”

Khan’s dramatic arrest, in which paramilitary troops had to break several doors, jump through smashed windows, and scuffle with PTI supporters and lawyers to reach the legally beleaguered firebrand politician, has sparked protests across the country.

According to Geo News, the PTI chairman was in the IHC’s biometric verification department when he was nabbed by paramilitary men. The NAB officials had arrest warrants, which had been issued on May 1 by NAB chairman Lt Gen (retd) Nazir Ahmad Butt.

With additional input from Reuters.

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