The New York TimesThe New York Times

Pakistan's military, once a 'sacred cow,' comes under attack by protesters

By Christina Goldbaum

10 May 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

The arrest of former PM Imran Khan has sparked protests across Pakistan, with demonstrators targeting military installations. The NYT analyzes the return to the old order of Pakistani politics.

A mass of protesters pushing through the gates of the national army headquarters. An angry mob setting a senior military official’s residence aflame. Demonstrators looting a school run by a paramilitary force.

Once unthinkable, the scenes of violent protest that broke out across Pakistan on Tuesday after the arrest of the former prime minister, Imran Khan, seemed to cross a line against defying the army that has rarely been breached in Pakistan’s turbulent history. Since the country’s founding 75 years ago, the military has kept a steady hold on the country’s politics and foreign policy, carrying out three successful coups and ruling the country directly for several decades.

Sign in to informed

  • Curated articles from premium publishers, ad-free
  • Concise Daily Briefs with quick-read summaries
  • Read, listen, save for later, or enjoy offline
  • Enjoy personalized content