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Imran Khan’s Imminent Arrest: Recipe for More Unrest


If the events of the last two days are anything to go by, it’s not hard for one, especially with a semblance of political acumen, that the odds are stacked against Imran Khan, with the state resorting to strongarm tactics to take punitive action against the PTI supremo. We saw the first manifestation of this reality when, on Sunday afternoon, an Islamabad Police squad was sent to Lahore to arrest the PTI leader at his residence in Zaman Park.

However, when a glut of charged PTI followers milled around their leader’s house and faced off with the arresting authorities, they returned after being told that the PTI head was not available. It appears we are in for yet another ugly stalemate between citizens and police as officers are once more dispatched to Mr. Khan’s home to execute the warrant, which has been upheld by the sessions court despite Mr. Khan’s request to have it revoked.

Why the PTI leader hasn’t just shown up in court to argue his case, as he has in the past, defies comprehension. Mr Khan may have legitimate safety fears, but if he could present himself before other courts, he should have done so in Toshakhana case as well.

While Mr. Khan’s refusal to report himself to the authorities cannot be defended, the authorities themselves ought to have exercised caution. There was no need to produce such high theatrics when they had the force of the law on their side.

In the meanwhile, Pemra, in keeping with its notoriety of being more loyal than the king, took advantage of the situation at hand, censoring Mr Khan’s speeches and press talks from being aired on the electronic media.

The ban, however, has been challenged in the Lahore High Court, and it is expected it will be rescinded. Pemra, with a history of muzzling political leaders, also slapped a ban on Nawaz Sharif and Altaf Hussain after the military establishment declared them persona non grata. It appears similar tactics are being employed to drive the PTI chief away from the public eye.

Nevertheless, the government will shoot itself in its foot if it chooses to arrest a popular leader at a time when an election is just a few months away.  Such a poorly-thought-out plan will only trigger further instability and divide in the country; the government must steer clear of such coercive measures.

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Rava Desk

Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.


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