Tilak Devasher, National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) member and a security expert, on Tuesday said that the arrest of former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan by Rangers outside the Islamabad High Court will lead to political instability in the South Asian nation owing to his popularity. In an exclusive interview with ANI, Devasher said, “This time Rangers were used. It’s an important development in Pakistan.
There will be an outcry in Pakistan because of his popularity and his supporters in all provinces. If people will start protesting, and if there is violence then it will lead to a law and order problem. Khan was arrested by Rangers personnel from Islamabad High Court (IHC) — acting on National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) warrant.
The PTI chairman was arrested as part of NAB’s investigation in the Al-Qadir Trust case ahead of his appearance before the IHC to seek bail in multiple FIRs registered against him. Terming the arrest as an important development in Pakistan, the NSAB member said, “This is something that has been waiting to happen for a considerable amount of time. You recall a month or two ago, the police tried to arrest him from Zaman Park even though they had an arrest warrant. But his supporters didn’t allow the police to enter and then the police backed off.” “I think, in Pakistan what happens in the next week or next few days or next week are going to determine what happens in Pakistan in the next couple of months at least,” he added.
Responding to another question on how he sees the political future of Imran Khan, as well as the PTI party, the defence expert said, “You see, now it all depends. He has been arrested, now the case is going on. Does he get relief in the case? Is the case dismissed? Will they use this to disqualify him from contesting elections?” “If that happens, then it’s a major dent for the PTI, because what is PTI without Imran Khan? Without Imran Khan, the party will not be able to do well whenever, as and when the elections are held. So this is a major, major development.
We’ll have to wait and watch how this case actually progresses. Does he get bail and is he then disqualified by the election commission as a result of this arrest?” He also explained that the Rangers did so in an effort to quickly take him away, so as to avoid his supporters’ chaos. “But whether it was actually so or not if the Rangers had an arrest warrant duly issued by a court, then he is just picked up. And I think the Ranger’s effort was to whisk him away before the crowds gather quickly and before they prevent him from being taken away. So I don’t think that is as important as the fact that he has been arrested. That in any case will lead to outrage and an outcry all over Pakistan,” the defence expert added.
Throwing light on the possible scenarios in Pakistan and what will set the court or what will happen in Pakistan, he said, “If the people come out in the streets, start protesting, and if there is violence, if there is arson, and when the public is charged, you don’t know what will happen. So if that kind of situation happens, then it will lead to massive law and order problems in different places. And then the government, then the army is also watching they will have to take a call and how do they settle and get a grip.” “So I think it is now early, just about an hour ago that he was arrested. I think we will have to see how the crowd develops and the real test of his popularity will come, as how do crowds react to his arrest.” Meanwhile, there is massive outrage across Pakistan and PTI supporters are protesting against Imran Khan’s arrest.
PTI workers held protests in cities across the country, including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan, Peshawar, and Mardan, reported Geo News. In Karachi, demonstrators clashed with the police near Nursery. They threw stones at police vehicles and tore down street lights. There were reports that police fired teargas shells at the protesters. Police also fired teargas shells at protesters on Rawalpindi’s Murree Road. The PTI supporters are seen chanting “Release Imran Khan,” and “Shut down Pakistan,” in the streets of Lahore, Faizabad, Bannu, and Peshawar.
People of Lahore moving from Liberty towards Lahore Cantt,” tweeted PTI’s handle. Imran Khan’s party Twitter handle urged Pakistanis to come out and protest against his arrest. “Pakistan, it’s your time now. It’s now or never an opportunity. People must come out to defend their country now,” it tweeted. “It’s your time, people of Pakistan. Khan has always stood for you, now it’s time to stand for him. #ReleaseImranKhan,” it added.
Answering a question, of whether India should be more watchful after these developments in Pakistan, the defence expert said that India has to be on guard. “Yes, we have to be on our guard as in recent cases the majority have shown that people who are there will try and divert attention from what is happening in Pakistan but as far as the army itself is concerned or the government, I think they are going to be very, very busy in the next couple of days,” Tilak Devasher said.