Six dead in violent protests as Pakistan's ex-PM Imran Khan is back in court

Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan was arrested and dragged from court marking a dramatic escalation of political tensions that sparked violent demonstrations by his angry supporters in several major cities

Six people have been killed as violence erupted overnight in Pakistan, following the arrest of the country's former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Mr Khan has appeared in court on Wednesday after he was dragged from another courtroom yesterday and marched into a van by a sea of paramilitary troops.

Footage showed the Mr Khan, who is also Pakistan's former cricket team captain, appearing before a judge at a temporary court inside a police compound was broadcast by Pakistan's GEO television on Wednesday.

He was seen sitting on a chair, holding documents. He appeared calm but tired.

The judge was asked to approve keeping Mr Khan detained for up to 14 days - the tribunal said authorities could keep him in their custody for eight days.

Violent protests lead to deaths and injuries

Overnight on Tuesday, Mr Khan's supporters were involved in angry clashes across the country with police following his arrest.

At least six people were killed in the violence, one in the southwestern city of Quetta and the other in northwestern Pakistan.

Four more died in clashes with police on Wednesday.

Dozens were injured in various parts of the country.

Demonstrations have broken out in Pakistan following Imran Khan's arrest. Credit: AP

Protesters attacked vehicles carrying troops and hit armed soldiers with sticks.

In eastern Punjab province, where 157 police officers were reportedly injured in the protests, the local government had to ask the army to step in.

A police statement said 945 of Mr Khan's supporters had been arrested since Tuesday in the province - including Asad Umar, a senior leader from Mr Khan's party.

The protesters attacked the military’s headquarters in the city of Rawalpindi near the capital, Islamabad.

Other demonstrators tried to reach the prime minister's residence in Lahore, but were driven off by baton-wielding police.

Dozens of Mr Khan's supporters were also detained in Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar and elsewhere.

An image appearing to show plainclothes police officers beating a supporter of Imran Khan. Credit: AP

The military has not commented on the attacks on its facilities. None of the leaders from Mr Khan’s party denounced the attacks on the military.

So far, police and soldiers have not fired at protesters.

Mr Khan's supporters raided and set the home of Lt. Gen. Salman Fayyaz Ghani, a top regional commander, on fire.

By morning, police said some 2,000 protesters still surrounded the damaged home, chanting “Khan is our red line and you have crossed it.”

The demonstrations came after Mr Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party called on supporters to "shut down Pakistan", tweeting: "It’s your time, people of Pakistan.

"Khan has always stood for you, now its time to stand for him."

Twitter and internet blocked across Pakistan

A social media and internet blackout was launched as the protests intensified on Tuesday.

Pakistan’s telecommunication authority on Tuesday blocked social media, including Twitter.

The government also suspended internet service in Islamabad and other cities.

Classes at some private schools were canceled for Wednesday.

Rights group Amnesty International said it was alarmed by reports of Pakistani authorities blocking access to mobile internet networks and social media.

Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube remain suspended for a second day.

Amnesty urged authorities to show restraint, saying clashes between law enforcement and Mr Khan’s supporters risk human rights violations.

What will happen to Imran Khan now?

Mr Khan's legal team has challenged his arrest before the Islamabad High Court, and is seeking his release.

Mr Khan, who lost power last year but remains the country's most popular opposition figure, is the seventh former prime minister to be arrested in Pakistan. 

Imran Khan told ITV News in April that he believed the government may make an attempt on his life

He had been in the capital Islamabad on Tuesday facing charges of illegally selling state gifts he had received during his term as premier and concealing his assets.Officials from Pakistan's anti-corruption body said it had issued arrest warrants for Mr Khan last week in a separate graft case, for which he had not obtained bail - something that would protect him from arrest under the country's laws.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he will be brought to appear before an anti-graft tribunal later on Tuesday.

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