Pakistan knows no de-escalation in the crisis which opposes the government and the army to Imran Khan. Quite the contrary. The former prime minister, who was arrested on May 9 in a court in Islamabad, placed in detention, then released two days later by decision of the Supreme Court, is again surrounded. His residence, located in the upscale Zaman Park district of Lahore, Punjab, has been surrounded by law enforcement since Wednesday May 17. The Punjab authorities accuse him of sheltering forty people suspected of having participated in the destruction of public and military property following his arrest, which had led to an immense movement of anger in the country.
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The police gave him an ultimatum of twenty-four hours, until Thursday at 2 p.m., to deliver the suspects. This deadline has expired and uncertainty now dominates over the fate of the former prime minister. Punjab authorities said the house would be searched on Friday. « They will arrest me again, that’s for sure »stormed Imran Khan, assuring that he will remain in Pakistan until his » last breath « , despite the threats hanging over his head. He is being prosecuted in a hundred cases.
Nearly 4,000 people, according to the police, have already been arrested, including the entire leadership of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan’s political party. The former cricket star speaks of 7,500 arrests and suspects the power of wanting to ban his party. He rejects any involvement of his supporters in the looting and calls for the creation of a judicial commission headed by the president of the Supreme Court to investigate.
Application for elections
Imran Khan continues to call for elections to restore political stability. “I fear that Pakistan is on the path to destruction. If we are not wise now, we risk getting to a point where we will no longer be able to put the pieces of our country back together,” he said in a televised address on Wednesday.
Opposite him, General Munir, the army chief, appointed in November 2022 by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, has no intention of lowering his arms. He promised to bring protesters who attacked army installations to military tribunals and warned that “restraint will no longer be appropriate”. For analyst Zahid Hussain “the creeping shadow of military rule is becoming more and more pronounced”.
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