The DispatchThe Dispatch

Pakistan’s political crisis, explained

By Charlotte Lawson

01 Jun 2023 · 4 min read

informed Summary

  1. Imran Khan, a former cricket star and ousted prime minister, was arrested on May 9 after spurring his supporters on in a wave of political violence, including attacks on military installations and government buildings.

Simmering political tensions risk boiling over into a full-blown governmental collapse in nuclear-armed Pakistan. At the heart of the brewing crisis is Imran Khan—a popular former athlete and recently ousted prime minister.

On May 9 a local paramilitary group dragged Khan from an Islamabad courtroom and placed him under arrest. He was released later that week after spurring his supporters on in a wave of political violence, including attacks on military installations and government buildings. Pakistan’s streets have remained quiet since the initial violence, but many of his supporters are still behind bars, and droves of high-ranking officials with Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party have severed ties with the group and its leader in recent weeks. There’s even discussion of banning the party from participating in Pakistan’s upcoming elections.

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