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US, UK, Canada Issue Travel Advisories For Citizens In Pakistan After Violent Protests Over Imran Khan Arrest

The United States, Canada and the United Kingdom issued travel advisories for their citizens and diplomatic staff in Pakistan as violent protests erupted across the country following Imran Khan's arrest.

Updated: May 10, 2023 12:25 PM IST

By India.com News Desk | Edited by Snigdha Choudhury

imran khan arrest, pakistan protest, pakistan, islamabad
A car is seen burning along a road as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party activists and supporters of Imran Khan block a road during a protest against the arrest of their leader in Karachi on May 9. (Photo: AFP)

New Delhi: As protests erupted across Pakistan following the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan, the United States, United Kingdom and Canada issued advisories for their citizens in the country. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan was arrested from the Islamabad High Court by security agents from the National Accountability Bureau in connection to multiple graft cases.

Protesters were seen storming into Army headquarters in Rawalpindi on Tuesday night. PTI workers reportedly protested in cities across the country, including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan, Peshawar, and Mardan. Following the tense situation in Pakistan, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom issued travel advisories for their citizens and diplomatic staff.

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US issues travel alert for citizens in Pakistan

The US Embassy announced a travel alert for its citizens in Pakistan. The latest advisory issued by the US Embassy said, “The US Embassy is monitoring earlier reports of clashes between demonstrators and police in Islamabad and also sporadic demonstrations underway or being planned elsewhere throughout Pakistan.”

The US Embassy in Islamabad has cancelled consular appointments for May 10 due to “political traffic disruptions and restrictions”. US citizens have been advised to exercise heightened vigilance and avoid locations with large crowds, according to a report by the ARY News.

The US Embassy asked people to review personal security plans, carry identification and follow requests from law enforcement and be aware of their surroundings and monitor local media for updates.

Reacting to Imran Khan’s arrest, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the United States does not have a stance on one political candidate or party and called for respect for democratic principles. Karine Jean-Pierre in the press briefing said, “United States does not have a position on one political candidate or party versus the another. We call for respect for democratic principles and the rule of law around the world.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a joint news conference said, “We just want to make sure that whatever happens in Pakistan is consistent with the rule of law, with the constitution.”

‘Keep track of local news’: UK advisory

The UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advised their citizens to avoid all political demonstrations, large crowds of people, and public events and be prepared to change plans as necessary. The UK FCDO urged people to keep track of local news.

“Public demonstrations are common in Pakistan. You should keep track of the local news. Protests can occur with little warning and while most remain peaceful, they can turn violent and escalate quickly,” UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office stated.

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly stressed “We want to see peaceful democracy in that country. We want to see the rule of law adhered to.”

Threat of terrorism: Canada warns its citizens in Pakistan

The Canadian government asked its citizens and diplomatic staff to exercise a high degree of caution in Pakistan due to the “unpredictable security situation.” It further said, “There is a threat of terrorism, civil unrest, sectarian violence and kidnapping.”

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