Pakistani Police Use Tear Gas to Dis disperse a Pre-Election Rally

Pakistani police fired tear gas at supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan in Karachi, Pakistan, less than two weeks before a national parliamentary election. Around 20-30 people were arrested at the rally, with a dozen workers from Khan’s party arrested for attacking officers and blocking the road.

Khan, who is not on the ballot for the Feb. 8 election, remains a potent political force due to his grassroots following and anti-establishment rhetoric. He claims the legal cases against him were a plot to sideline him ahead of the vote. Workers from Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party organized the rally without permission and blocked the road.

Police officials attacked police when they tried to negotiate not to block the road, resulting in injuries to five officials, including a female officer.

A wounded individual is currently in critical condition. The police operation is ongoing. PTI worker Waheedullah Shah stated that PTI workers will not be deterred by such tactics and will always support PTI leader, Muhammad Khan.

Following Khan’s arrest in May 2023, violent demonstrations ensued, leading to crackdowns on his supporters and party. Pakistan’s independent human rights commission warns of a low chance of a fair parliamentary election due to “pre-poll rigging” and concerns about authorities rejecting Khan’s candidacies.

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