Islamabad, Pakistan – A 34-second video, shot in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore on May 9, starts by showing a group of people, including women, entering a mansion.

They are wielding sticks, chanting slogans and carrying flags of former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.

The man making the video says: “People have broken through the gates and have now entered the corps commander’s residence,” referring to a senior military officer.

He then walks towards a soldier standing on a corner of a vast lawn, looking at the crowd entering the compound, and tells him, “Sir, we told you not to touch Imran Khan.”

The mansion was not just the residence of a top military general in Lahore, it also had historical significance. Named Jinnah House, after the country’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, a part of the imposing building was later set on fire by the protesters.

The video, which went viral on Pakistani social media, was shot shortly after Khan was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) at a court in the capital, Islamabad, on corruption charges.

The dramatic arrest shocked the nation, with Khan’s supporters hitting the streets and demanding his immediate release.

Dozens of similar videos showed the protesters in several cities targeting installations and buildings belonging to Pakistan’s powerful military.

A video shot in the garrison town of Rawalpindi – where the Pakistani Army General Headquarters is located – showed a woman protesting at the entrance of the fortified complex, rattling the gate to open it as two other women surrounded her.

Another video showed hundreds of people carrying PTI flags and wearing party scarves descending on the same gate, trying to climb it and hitting it with batons. Before long, they entered the compound, chanting “God is great” and demanding Khan’s release.

On Thursday, the country’s Supreme Court ruled that Khan was illegally arrested and ordered his immediate release. The 70-year-old opposition leader was presented before the High Court in Islamabad on Friday where he has challenged his arrest.


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