Protests broke out across Islamabad as a large number of people, including members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party and the general public, took to the streets in response to the arrest of former Prime Minister and PTI chairman, Imran Khan.
As a result, many Pakistanis used VPNs to take to social media – which ironically faced a shutdown – to ask people to come out in support of Khan while also maintaining some semblance of peace. Among all these folks was actor Maya Ali, who put up an Instagram Story to convey her message.
“I urge all the people out there, please do not cause harm to others or yourself,” penned the star. Don’t break [the] mirrors of anyone’s cars, shops, bikes and rob anyone. Don’t hurt anyone who is out to support our captain in any capacity. It’s a very serious matter and we have to handle this situation sensibly without hurting anyone or causing any danger.”
She further continued, “And for those who are destroying things and causing havoc: they’re not from us, and we know for sure who these people are. Try to help each other in this hard time too. We have to stand as one nation. That’s what our captain always wants.” Ali ended her message with the hashtag, #LiveLongImranKhan.
The demonstrations in question, which included sit-ins and clashes with the police, resulted in the arrest of PTI Sindh President Ali Zedi and numerous party workers. The situation escalated as alleged enraged PTI supporters set fire to vehicles, including waterboard trucks and a prison van, and engaged in stone-pelting incidents.
Furthermore, the police utilized baton charges, tear gas, and water cannons to disperse the crowd, leading to injuries among both protesters and law enforcement personnel. Throughout the protests, demonstrators demanded the immediate release of Imran Khan, with some resorting to blocking roads and burning tires.