Pakistan

Imran Khan’s Arrest: History is being rewritten by “Burgers”

After suffering over a year of controversies, Ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan was arrested by the National Accountability Beaurue. To no one’s surprise, the situation has become incredibly tense with protests and riots country wide. To just about everyone’s surprise, however, there is a small yet visible light at the end of this dark tunnel.

The Full Story

It all began with Khan’s ouster through a parliamentary non-confidence vote in April of last year. This was followed by a short-lived long march in May. In August, live broadcasts of Khan’s speeches were banned across the country under “anti-terror” law after he criticized state institutions. These charges were dropped in September. The Election Commission disqualified him from being a member of Parliament on charges of “corrupt practices” and this led to the beginning of another long march from Lahore during which he was shot in the leg.

The Election Commission then initiated a process to remove his from the position of PTI chief on allegations that he took undisclosed gift from the state depository. He ordered the dissolution of Punjab and KP assemblies that were controlled by the PTI. In March, the police raided his Lahore residence leading to clashes between the police and his supporters. Finally, on May 9th, he was arrested from within the premises of the Islamabad High Court by the Rangers on the directions of the NAB.

Issues With the Arrest

Firstly, Khan was arrested from the premises of the court where his hearing was yet to be conducted. There was no warrant out for his arrest, and no warning. More importantly, removing him from a court without a fair trial, specifically when he appeared for that trial is problematic to say the least. Secondly, what makes the arrest more interesting is the fact that it came so shortly after Khan mentioned in a speech that the attempts on his life were carried out by the ISI.

As though it was fairly obvious that there would be outrage, the arrest involved dozens of rangers personnel. Khan was manhandled and taken to an undisclosed location.

The Reaction

Protests broke out all across the country. PTI supporters came up against police and began attacking the army. Corp Commanders’ homes and bases, Cantonments, and even the GHQ were raided and some ransacked by PTI supporters during the protests. Internet connections cut across Pakistan, social media banned, and institutions closed, the country entered lockdown.

History Being Rewritten

Tell me if you have heard this in Pakistan’s 75 year history: Civilians are rioting outside military institutions, buildings, and homes, throwing stones at passing convoys, and protesting against the military en masse. As we stand at the cusp of another possible coup, the people seem to finally have gathered the courage to stand up against it and say no.

Say what you will about Imran Khan’s politics, the man has marked the beginning of a new era of Pakistani politics. For all the dirty games that he has played, he has also dethroned two of the longest lasting political legacies in the country. For the fact that he has turned politics into a battle of insults rather than a civilised process, he has also given the poor a champion to lead their cause — regardless of how flawed he may be. They saw that champion being discriminated against and they stood up to the single most powerful group in the entire country. This is the history being rewritten by Khan’s supporters who, once upon a time, called “Burgers”. 

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