In Pakistan, Imran Khan’s backers are quiet but undeterred.

In Pakistan, Imran Khan's backers are quiet but undeterred.

There was hardly a peep of outrage over the weekend when suspicions of corruption led to the detention of former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

There was not a single large protest recorded anywhere in the nation.

Compare this to the situation a few months earlier, when the individual, who was 70 years old at the time, was detained and removed from a court building in Islamabad on May 9th. It prompted demonstrations all around the nation, some of which degenerated into violent clashes between Mr. Khan’s followers and the security forces stationed in certain areas. Some of the demonstrators broke into military facilities and even went as far as to ransack the residence of the most senior military officer in Lahore.

However, this time around, the authorities were ready for Mr. Khan’s sentencing and subsequent transfer to a jail in the city of Attock. His location was a closely guarded secret, and there were reportedly a number of fake convoys sent out to mislead the media. All of the main cities’ police departments, as well as the military, were placed on high alert, and scores of individuals were detained in anticipation of an attack.

As evidence that the former prime minister does not have the backing of the people, Pakistan’s ruling party and the army have alluded to the fact that there was no public demonstration in response to Mr. Khan’s imprisonment. However, his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party and followers claim that a quick crackdown has compelled them to remain silent. After the widespread demonstrations in May, according to what the BBC has been informed, the media outlets were instructed not to cover the activities of the PTI or even mention Mr. Khan’s name on air.

Since May, authorities have detained thousands of people who support Mr. Khan. The army has said that they have the intention of trying them in military tribunals, which human rights organizations and international law experts have argued is unlawful. The PTI has also been subjected to an organised campaign of dismantlement, which has resulted in the arrest or prosecution of a large number of party members and leaders. There are still over 200 cases pending against Mr. Khan. Since then, a number of members of the PTI have either switched parties or left politics entirely.

A leading political analyst by the name of Ali Akbar said that this is the reason why Mr. Khan’s appeals for a demonstration were ignored this time; not only did workers and supporters fear detention, but they were also unable to organize support due to the lack of leadership remaining in PTI.

After serving his time in prison, former Prime Minister Khan of Pakistan was arrested.

Is Imran Khan’s time behind bars the end of his political career?

Fatima, a fan of the PTI whose name has been altered at her request, said that she had been silenced by fear as a result of police action against party officials, even while expressing her opinions online.

“I used to support the party on Twitter, but one day I got a phone call from an unknown number advising me not to publish such tweets. After that, I stopped supporting the party on Twitter. She said, “I became afraid, and my parents also urged me to delete my Twitter account since they stated no one would be able to assist me if I were arrested.” “I got worried, and my parents also recommended that I delete my Twitter account.”

Another worker for the party said that he did not want to put himself in a difficult position since it looked like the police were ready to arrest anybody who came forward to protest.

According to Naheed, a housewife in the conservative Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region in northwest Pakistan, whose name has been changed at her request, “After so many of their leaders and activists were jailed, my family members are not even allowing me to meet other women workers of the party.” Naheed’s identity has been altered because she asked for it to be changed.

She claims that she first became a supporter of Imran Khan and the PTI after they were removed from office in April of the previous year. But today, she says, she is unable to even leave her home due to the extensive action that the police are taking against party members. This is because of the scope of the police activity.

Other supporters who talked to the BBC had the same sentiment, stating that they did not want to participate in the demonstration at this time. One individual, who wished to remain anonymous, said that he supported the concept of peaceful demonstrations but was saddened when the demonstrations in May became violent. He added, “I don’t know who was behind it, but I cannot accept such violence and devastation.”

However, many further said that despite their apparent silence on their support for Mr. Khan and the PTI, this is not the case for them. The power of this so-called “silent support” is still very apparent. The Pakistani Taliban in Exile (PTI) recently triumphed in a by-election held in a region where it had been defeated the previous year, and it did so by a large margin.

According to Irfan Khan, a political analyst in Pakistan, anti-establishment viewpoints are rapidly gaining support in the country.

In the past, when the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) adopted an anti-establishment position, and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was in power, the PML won by-elections in several seats, even in PTI strongholds, he said.

When Mr. Khan ascended to power in 2018, he was considered an ally of the establishment. It is commonly thought that the connection between Mr. Khan and the establishment deteriorated, which led to his ouster.

A large number of people who support the PTI, like Fatima, have vowed that they will continue to vote for Mr. Khan and his party in the next general election, which is anticipated to take place later this year.

In addition, Naheed has said that she would be supporting the PTI with her vote, stating that “these acts will not make us quit the PTI.” Our feelings for Imran Khan and the party are only becoming deeper, and we are committed to providing them with continued support.

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