Imran Khan’s Arrest Escalates Political Crisis in Pakistan
Pakistan’s former Prime Minister, Imran Khan, who is a former cricket star and a prominent figure in Pakistani politics has been arrested. His detention has escalated the ongoing political crisis in Pakistan, pitting the current government against Khan and raising the prospect of mass unrest.
Khan has been facing dozens of court cases on charges that include terrorism and corruption, which he and his supporters have characterized as a misuse of the justice system by the government and the military to sideline him from politics. The tensions surrounding Khan came to a head in November, when he was wounded during a political rally, which his aides claimed was an assassination attempt.
Despite the legal and political challenges, Khan has been able to stage a political comeback, with his party drawing tens of thousands to political rallies across the country, calling for fresh elections and accusing the military establishment of orchestrating his ouster. His popularity has been buoyed by his unique ability to outmaneuver Pakistan’s typical playbook for sidelining political leaders who have fallen out of favor with the country’s powerful military.
Imran Khan’s political victories in local elections in Punjab and Karachi over the summer were seen as a response to worsening economic conditions that the new government has struggled to address and as a repudiation of the military establishment’s heavy-handed approach to Pakistani politics. However, they have prompted a growing crackdown on Khan and his supporters, with journalists sympathetic to him claiming harassment by the authorities, live broadcasts of his speeches being banned from news television channels, and a mainstream channel, ARY News, being forced off the air after airing an interview with one of Khan’s top aides.
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