Protests in Baltistan amid Pak political crisis


Pakistan has seen mass mobilizations both in protest and celebration since parliament on April 10¬†voted to remove Imran Khan as prime minister. The vote took place three days after the Supreme Court of Pakistan held¬†that an order by Khan to dissolve the parliament was unconstitutional. Parliament’s lower house appointed the leader of the opposition, Shehbaz Sharif, as the new prime minister. Khan’s party,¬†Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf, staged a walkout from the Assembly¬†ahead of the vote.

Opposition to Khan has been mounting in the remote and contested Himalayan region of Baltistan. April 6 saw a protest outside government offices in the Baltistan town of Skardu, with residents demanding the return of properties they say have been usurped by local officials. Protesters accused the Khan administration of illegal and forceful acquisition of their properties on behalf of “land mafias” dominated by regional oligarchs.

Baltistan is part of the territory claimed by India as within the disputed province of Kashmir. However, Islamabad has had it administratively severed from the rest of Pakistan-held Kashmir, together with the adjacent region of Gilgit. The governor of the “autonomous territory” of¬†Gilgit-Baltistan,¬†Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon,¬†resigned after Khan was removed from power. (Jurist, Indian Express, Hindustan Times,¬†Dunya News, ANI)

Map via Wikipedia

  1. Pakistan police attack pro-Khan protesters

    Pakistani police fired teargas and baton-charged supporters of ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan on May 25 to block them from reaching the capital Islamabad. Khan has called on the supporters to march on the capital and stay there until the new government is dissolved and a date for a fresh election is announced. (Reuters)

  2. Pakistan mosque blast kills 59

    At least 59 people have been killed by a bomb that apparently targeted police officers praying in a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan. The mosque is within the tightly-guarded police headquarters area. (BBC News)

    Last October saw mass protests in the Swat Valley, also within¬†Khyber Pakhtunkhwa state,¬†against growing insecurity in the region. (Al Jazeera) In December, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) raided a counter-terrorism center in Bannu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, sparking a days-long siege that ended in gun-battle in which some 30 of the militants were killed. Two hostages at the facility were also put to death. (Al Jazeera

    Former Prime Minister Imran Khan was shot in the leg while leading a protest march on Nov. 3. Gunfire rained onto his convoy and he was en route to Islamabad in a demonstration aimed at pushing for new elections. (PRI)

  3. Death toll rises in Pakistan mosque attack

    The death toll from a suicide bomb that ripped through a mosque in Peshawar, northwestern Pakistan, rose to at least 100 on Jan. 31, marking one of the deadliest attacks in the country in years. (CNN)

  4. Pakistan: deadly explosions in Swat valley

    At least 12 people have been killed in two explosions at a counter-terrorism office in Pakistan’s conflicted Swat Valley. The¬†attack occurred within the police station premises in the town of Kabal, which also housed the federal Counter Terrorism Department and a mosque. (BBC News, WION)

  5. Arrest of former Pakistan PM sparks protests

    Pakistan authorities May 9 arrested former prime minister Imran Khan outside of the Islamabad courts where he had appeare for a hearing. Fawad Chaudhry, a senior member of Khan‚Äôs party, Tehreek-e-insaf (PTI), confirmed the arrest on his Twitter. He wrote that Khan was abducted by “unknown people to an unknown location.” Following Khan’s arrest, protests broke out in several cities across Pakistan, including Lahore, Khanpur and Rawalpindi.

    A previous attempted arrest of Khan in March led to violent clashes between protestors and police. As a result, the courts cancelled Khan’s arrest warrant, deeming the situation too dangerous to proceed.

    Khan faces multiple allegations of corruption. Pakistan’s Election Committee previously found Khan guilty of illegally retaining and selling gifts from foreign dignitaries. (Jurist)

  6. Pakistan supreme court declares arrest of former PM invalid

    Pakistan’s Supreme Court declared May 11¬†that the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan was “invalid and unlawful.”¬†The court ordered Khan‚Äôs release and requested that he once again appear before the Islamabad High Court. (Jurist)

  7. Pakistan: mass arrests target political opposition

    Pakistani police have carried out mass arrests and detained more than 4,000 people in the wake of protests over the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, including members of the political opposition, Human Rights Watch reported May 20. 

  8. Pakistan: arrested protesters to face military trials

    Pakistan Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah announced May 26 that 33 of the thouands arrested in protests over the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan will be turned over to the army to face trial before a military court. Sanaullah stated in a press conference that the 33 are accused of attacks on the security forces. (Jurist)

  9. Pakistan: Imran Khan to face military trial

    Pakistani Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah called May 30 for former prime minister Imran Khan to be tried in a military court over the outbreak of nationwide protests sparked by his arrest last month.¬†Sanaullah referred to Khan as the “architect of all this discord”¬†amid¬†an ongoing crackdown on the ex-prime minister’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Most recently, on June 1, authorities arrested PTI president Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi outside his home in Lahore. (Jurist)¬†

  10. At least 40 killed in blast at political rally in Pakistan

    At least 40 people have been killed in an explosion at a political gathering in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The rally by Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s Jamiat Ulema Islam party was taking place on the outskirts of Khar, the capital of Bajur district. (AP)

  11. ISIS claims deadly Pakistan blast

    The Islamic State group on July 31 claimed responsibility for the Bajaur suicide blast in Pakistan that killed 54 people, including 23 children. (NDTV)

  12. Imran Khan indicted again

    Ousted prime minister Imran Khan was indicted by a Pakistani court Oct. 23 for charges of revealing official secrets. If found guilty, Khan, alongside vice chair of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Shah Mahmood Qureshi, could face the death sentence. (Jurist)

  13. Pakistani court declares Imran Khan ‘jail trial’ illegal

    A Pakistani court declared Nov. 21 that the jailhouse trial of former prime minister Imran Khan on charges of leaking state secrets is illegal, according to Khan’s lawyer Naeem Panjutha.”The proceedings and the trial conducted in jail premises in a manner that cannot be termed as an open trial stand vitiated,” Panjutha said, quoting the Islamabad High Court order. (Jurist)

  14. Imran Khan and wife get 14 years in prison

    Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi were sentenced to 14 years in prison on Jan. 31 for corruption during Khan‚Äôs tenure as prime minister. Khan was sentenced to 10 years in prison the day before over revealing state secrets. (Jurist)

  15. Yet another conviction for Imran Khan and wife

    A Pakistani court on Feb. 2 sentenced former prime minister Imran Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, to seven years in prison for violating a marriage law when they wed in 2018, officials and a lawyer for the couple said. (Jurist)

  16. Pakistan authorities urged to ensure peaceful transition‚Äč

    Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged Pakistani authorities Feb. 12 to ensure a peaceful transition of power following the country’s parliamentary elections.¬†HRW said the Feb. 8 elections were “marred”¬†by authorities’¬†widespread violations of the freedoms of expression and association, especially¬†citing¬†the “mass detention and harassment”¬†of supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. HRW expressed additional concerns over the Election Commission’s delay in announcing the election results.

    PTI-aligned politicians won 92 parliamentary seats in the election, more than any of the other parties. Because they ran as independents, however, the results were split, and no party achieved a majority of the vote. The results came as a surprise to many, due to the attempts to remove PTI from the ballot as well as the party’s association with former prime minister Imran Khan. Khan, the founder of PTI, was ineligible to run as a candidate after being sentenced to 14 years in prison for corruption, 10 years in prison for revealing state secrets and 7 years in prison for “unlawful marriage.”

    The Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) was widely expected to win the elections.¬†The PML-N has now reached an agreement with the other Pakistan People’s Party¬†to form a coalition government. Khan¬†announced from prison that PTI would not join either of the parties to establish a coalition. (Jurist)

    There were aso deadly terrorist attacks in Balochistan state on the even of the elections. 

  17. Pakistan court grants Imran Khan appeal, suspends sentence

    The Islamabad High Court granted an appeal to former Prime Minister Imran Khan on April 1, suspending his 14-year sentence for the conviction on graft charges, according to a statement from his political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.”¬†(Jurist)