HRW: Pakistan police carry out mass arrests of political opposition – LAWYER

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Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a statement It says on Saturday that Pakistani police have carried out mass arrests of more than 4,000 people, including members of the opposition party of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), following the protests over the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan. This statement has been corroborated by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and Khan himself, who has condemned the repression.

HRW called for the release of those arbitrarily arrested, while emphasizing the distinction between those who engaged in peaceful and non-peaceful political actions after Khan’s arrest. HRW Asia Director Patricia Grossman stated: “[t]The Pakistani authorities should end the arbitrary arrests of political opposition activists and peaceful protesters. Anyone who commits violence must be properly charged and their rights to due process respected.”

Authorities had previously tried to arrest Khan in March on corruption charges, sparking a previous wave of protests and mass arrests. The most recent protests began on May 9 after Khan was arrested in Islamabad outside the courts. The protests continued after a speech by Khan on May 13 where he encouraged supporters to fight for their freedom. Khan has been doing it ever since claimed that the violence that resulted from the recent wave of protests was “a planned conspiracy” and that it has “video evidence of provocateurs with guns inciting our people.”

Khan is alleged to have received a bribe in the form of land during his tenure as prime minister and was forced out of office in April 2022 by a vote of no confidence after attempting to dissolve parliament. It has a history of tension with the Pakistani military, which has culminated in recent unrest. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has declared Khan’s arrest “invalid and illegal”.

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