The former prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, was arrested on Tuesday on charges of corruption and being involved with terrorism.
Khan was removed from his position last April by a vote of no confidence in parliament. In November, Khan survived an assassination attempt during a protest that killed one supporter and injured several others.
A spokesperson for Khan stated, "it was a clear assassination attempt. Khan was hit but he’s stable. There was a lot of bleeding."
Khan believes the assassination was orchestrated by his opposition and there are also allegations of U.S. involvement. Khan was removed after embracing Vladimir Putin and his invasion of Ukraine and some believe that may have prompted U.S. influence to have him removed.
To the casual observer, Imran Khan's past year may not seem out of the ordinary in a nation that is known for political instability and violence.
Had Khan not survived the attempt on his life, he wouldn't have been the first major political figure in Pakistan to have been assassinated.
Further complicating matters is Khan predicting his arrest on Twitter on Monday. In a post to Twitter, Khan stated, "My reply to ISPR & attempts by PDM & their handlers to arrest me for two reasons: 1. To prevent me from campaigning bec InshaAllah when elections are announced I will be doing jalsas. 2. To prevent me from mobilising the masses for street movement in support of Constitution if PDM govt & their handlers refuse to obey the SC & violate Constitution on holding of elections."
Khan and his political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, have grown increasingly popular since he was removed from office.
So there is certainly a motive for the current government to arrest him and prevent his return to power. Khan certainly hasn't been afraid of accusing both Pakistani military and intelligence agencies of actively working to take him down.
Khan's story seems to have distant parallels to former President Donald Trump's situation here in the United States. Like Khan, Trump has had the entirety of the U.S. intelligence community arrayed against him to prevent his return to political power.
Regardless of what happens with Imran Khan, one thing is for sure, Pakistan is a nuclear-armed country that is facing major political instability.
Since Khan was arrested, nearly a thousand of his supporters have been arrested as the government cracked down on protests. Khan is undoubtedly popular among the Pakistani people and this situation is extremely concerning as tensions escalate.
These arrests haven't deterred PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi who said, "We continue to call PTI family workers, supporters and the people of Pakistan onto the streets for peaceful protest against this unconstitutional behaviour."
The violence could just be beginning and the last thing the world needs is a nuclear-armed country to descend into civil war. A civil war in Pakistan is also the last thing President Joe Biden needs going into an election year.