Hundreds of Pakistani Americans gathered outside the White House on Sunday in the cold freeze, asking the coalition government to end the actions against PTI Chairman Imran Khan.
The protest came after Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence in Lahore was stormed by Punjab police in large numbers, while Khan was in Islamabad to attend a judge’s hearing regarding the Toshakhana case on Saturday.
Hour-long clashes between PTI workers and policemen broke out, which resulted in the injury of at least 25 people. 30 automobiles, including motorbikes, and a police chowki was set on fire during the clashes in the federal capital. The recent treatment of PTI leaders and supporters by Pakistani police prompted widespread criticisms in Pakistan and beyond.
Following the recent clashes and the government’s effort to arrest the PTI Chairman, a considerable number of Pakistanis in the US gathered in front of the White House and raised their voice in support of Imran Khan. The protestors included a large number of women.
“We are here to draw attention to the deteriorating human rights situation and the threat to democracy in Pakistan,” said Junaid Bashir, a senior PTI leader in Virginia. “We want the government to stop intimidating Imran Khan immediately.”
“What we witness during the last few days in Pakistan is not politics. It’s an attack on democracy and democratic values, which needs to be condemned in strongest terms” Karman Rizvi, a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) said.
The protestors in a joint statement urged the international community to take action against the ruling government in Pakistan to immediately cease “violations” of fundamental human rights stop “custodial torture” by security agencies, and hold free and fair elections in Punjab and KP. It is also stated that the victimization of political opponents through arrests and false charges should be ended.