Pakistani army deployed in Islamabad as popular unrest hits after arrest of Imran Khan

Pakistani army deployed in Islamabad as popular unrest hits after arrest of Imran Khan

The Pakistani army deployed in capital on Thursday after detention of former Prime Minister Imran Khan pending investigation, which sparked two days of violent demonstrations by his supporters.

A court on Wednesday ordered Imran Khan to be held pending investigation on corruption charges, months after a political crisis led the former prime minister to launch a crackdown on the country’s powerful military.

Khan’s arrest and imprisonment angered supporters of his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who clashed with security forces in several cities and marched to army headquarters.

At least seven officials from PTI’s leadership have been arrested on charges of orchestrating the demonstrations, Islamabad police announced early Thursday.

On Wednesday, the government agreed to deploy the army in two provinces, including Punjab, the largest populous country, and in the capital to enforce security.

Islamabad police said the army had entered the sensitive “red zone” in the capital, where government buildings are located.

At least six people have been killed in incidents linked to the demonstrations, police and medical sources said.

Hundreds of police officers were injured and more than 2,000 people were arrested across the country, mostly in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, police said.

The Home Office ordered internet shutdowns and restricted access to social networks Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, the Pakistan Telecommunications Agency said.

Authorities also ordered the closure of schools across the country and the cancelation of  final exams.