Thursday, June 8, 2023

Imran Khan’s Arrest and Clashes Trigger Travel Advisories for Pakistan

  • Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest by Rangers personnel has sparked widespread protests across Pakistan.
  • Clashes between PTI supporters and law enforcement agencies have resulted in violence and damage to public property in various cities.
  • In response, Canada and the United States have issued travel advisories, warning their citizens about the unpredictable security situation and urging caution.

Canada and the United States have advised their citizens in Pakistan to exercise caution following the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and the violent clashes that took place in different cities.

Arrest of Imran Khan and PTI Supporters’ Protests

The advisories came after Rangers personnel arrested PTI Chairman Khan from the premises of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) — acting on National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) warrant.

Following his arrest, the PTI urged supporters all across Pakistan to protest and “block all roads, close all shops”.

Violent Clashes and Damage to Public Property

Subsequently, PTI workers held protests in several cities, including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan, Peshawar, and Mardan.

In Karachi, demonstrators clashed with the police near Nursery. They threw stones at and set fire to police vehicles, tore down street lights and damaged a bus. There were reports that police fired teargas shells at the protesters.

Protesters also caused damage to public property in other cities, including Rawalpindi and Lahore.

Travel Advisories Issued by Canada and the United States

Following the worsening law and order situation in the country, the Canadian mission said, “Exercise a high degree of caution in Pakistan due to the unpredictable security situation. There is a threat of terrorism, civil unrest, sectarian violence, and kidnapping”.

The Canadian mission also advised its citizens to avoid travel to Karachi “due to violence and the risk of terrorism”.

The high commission stated that demonstrations are expected to take place across Pakistan due to the recent arrest of the PTI chief.

It mentioned that the security forces are on high alert in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, and Karachi, adding that the security situation in the country “is evolving and remains unpredictable”.

The Canadian mission called its citizens to “follow the instructions of local authorities; avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place; always be aware of your surroundings when in public places; monitor local media for the latest on the situation; Local authorities may ban all public gatherings”.

On the other hand, the US Embassy in Pakistan canceled its consular appointments for today and stated that it was monitoring reports of clashes in Islamabad and other areas.

The US mission advised its citizens to “exercise heightened vigilance and avoid locations with large crowds”. It also urged its citizens to “review” their “personal security plans”, carry identification documents with them and follow requests from law enforcement.

The US embassy also told its citizens to be aware of their surroundings and monitor local media for updates.

Imran Khan’s arrest FAQs

Why was Imran Khan arrested, and what led to the protests?

Imran Khan was arrested by Rangers personnel based on a warrant from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The arrest prompted the PTI to call for protests, leading to clashes between supporters and law enforcement agencies.

Which cities in Pakistan witnessed the most significant protests and violence?

The protests and violence occurred in multiple cities, including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan, Peshawar, and Mardan. Karachi saw particularly intense clashes, with demonstrators damaging public property and engaging in confrontations with the police.

Why have Canada and the United States issued travel advisories for Pakistan?

The deteriorating law and order situation, fueled by Imran Khan’s arrest and the ensuing protests, prompted Canada and the United States to issue travel advisories. The advisories highlight the unpredictable security situation, the threat of terrorism, civil unrest, sectarian violence, and the risk of kidnapping. Citizens are advised to exercise caution and avoid certain areas.

Also Read: Pakistan Army has “no relation” to Imran Khan’s arrest

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