Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, called for nationwide “freedom” protests after his brief detention last week sparked deadly riots. Speaking in a YouTube broadcast, Khan urged his supporters to hold protests “on the streets and in villages” across Pakistan, and announced his return to campaigning ahead of the general election on Wednesday. Since being removed from power in April 2022, Khan has been the subject of dozens of cases, but was released on bail on Friday after the Supreme Court declared his detention unlawful. His detention last Tuesday followed claims that senior officials were involved in a plot to kill him last year. Supporters angered by Khan’s detention burned government buildings, blocked roads, and damaged military property. The campaign against the military, which has directly ruled Pakistan for almost half of its 75-year history, was launched by the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party several months ago. Meanwhile, the authorities say that at least nine people were killed and hundreds injured, including over 4000 arrests, mostly in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, during last week’s riots.
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