Pakistan: Ex-PM Imran Khan Arrested, Sparking Protests

    Pakistan: Ex-PM Imran Khan Arrested, Sparking Protests
    Last updated May 09, 2023
    Image credit: AFP [via NDTV]


    • On Tuesday, Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan — who was ousted in April last year and has since campaigned for early elections— was arrested on corruption charges, prompting his supporters to stage massive protests across the country in response.[1]
    • They blocked several roads, including the main Kashmir Highway in and out of the capital Islamabad, with the police using water cannons and tear gas to disperse demonstrators. According to an official from Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, a worker for the PTI was killed in Quetta.[2]
    • Khan's supporters also reportedly forced their way into the Corps Commander's residence in Lahore, stormed the Pakistan Army's general headquarters in Rawalpindi, and set a dummy aircraft on fire outside the Mianwali air base.[3]
    • A video provided by the PTI shows that Khan was undergoing a biometric process at the Islamabad High Court for a court appearance when paramilitary forces broke open the glass window and detained him.[4]
    • According to his lawyer, Khan was kicked by the Rangers on his injured leg and pepper sprayed before being whisked away in a black car to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) office in Rawalpindi.[5]
    • The arrest of the former premier comes as he doubled down on allegations that a serving senior intelligence officer was leading a plot to assassinate him, despite the military spokesman deeming such claims "highly irresponsible" and ill-founded.[6]


    Narrative A

    Imran Khan's arrest is an abduction, an attack on the judiciary, and a slap on Pakistan's democracy. The country's ruling political elite doesn't want the PTI chief back in power in any capacity and will go to any extent to prevent him from proving his legitimacy to fight the upcoming general elections.

    Narrative B

    The former prime minister was arrested in a case involving the embezzlement of $239M. He has often used religion to garner support, manipulate the judiciary to his whims, and exploit the country for his petty political objectives. If his arrest is politically motivated, as he claims, he will have a chance to prove this before the anti-graft court.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 27% chance that India will conduct a military intervention against Pakistan before the 2024 Indian general elections, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Articles on this story

    Sign up to our newsletter!