UN calls for peace as violent protests in Pakistan
The deteriorating law and order situation in Pakistan following the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan has caught the attention of the United Nations, prompting UN Secretary-General António Guterres to call for an end to violence.
UN says the situation in Pakistan has spiralled out of control since Khan’s detention from the Islamabad High Court earlier this week, resulting in five deaths and widespread instability in a country already grappling with a severe economic crisis and a delay in an International Monetary Fund bailout since November.
Farhan Haq, the Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, stated that Guterres has urged all parties to respect the right to peaceful assembly and emphasised the need for law enforcement to comply with the law while enforcing it against Khan.
The United Nations Secretary-General has called on the authorities to adhere to due process and the principles of the rule of law in the legal proceedings concerning the former Prime Minister Khan.
The arrest of Imran Khan, who is Pakistan’s most popular political leader according to polls, has sparked widespread protests and violence. Party workers and supporters stormed the GHQ building in Rawalpindi and a residence Lahore Corps Commander. Other state buildings and assets have been attacked and set on fire, prompting the government to approve the deployment of troops in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the federal capital, Islamabad, to restore order.
In a statement, the army expressed that it had shown restraint in the face of previous violent incidents. However, it cautioned that any further assaults on military or law enforcement agencies, state installations, or properties would result in a forceful response.
It is crucial for all parties to exercise restraint and respect the rule of law while ensuring the right to peaceful assembly. The situation in Pakistan is already fragile, and the escalation of violence will only worsen the country’s economic and political crisis. The government must take a more proactive approach to resolving the issues and seek peaceful solutions through dialogue and negotiations. The United Nations and the international community can play a critical role in mediating between the different parties to find a way out of the current impasse.