On Tuesday, the top diplomats of the United States and Britain called for adherence to the “rule of law” in Pakistan after the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan triggered violence across the country. During a joint news conference in Washington, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the importance of consistency with Pakistan’s constitution and the rule of law. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, also present at the conference, expressed Britain’s desire to see peaceful democracy and adherence to the rule of law in Pakistan. Both declined to comment further, citing lack of full briefing on the situation.
The United Nations also expressed concern about the situation and said it would monitor the political situation in Pakistan to ensure that all political figures in the country were treated fairly and due process was followed. Meanwhile, Amnesty International urged Pakistani authorities to show restraint and ensure that their response was proportionate, legal, necessary, and non-discriminatory to avoid human rights violations.
Washington-based scholars of South Asian affairs, Michael Kugelman and Madiha Afzal, and former US diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad, all expressed their concerns over the deteriorating situation in Pakistan. Jeremy McLellan, a social media personality, claimed in his tweet that Imran Khan’s arrest was an illegal kidnapping because he had become too popular, and warned that the Pakistani people would not take this lying down.