Pakistan: Deadly violence surges as Khan indicted

STORY: Tear gas billows as supporters of Imran Khan face off with police in major Pakistani cities on Wednesday (May 10).

As a court indicted the ousted prime minister on charges of selling state gifts during his four years in power.

The former cricket hero, who is Pakistan's most popular politician according to opinion polls, was arrested on Tuesday (May 9) in another fraud case, sparking deadly unrest.

Khan denies any wrongdoing.

His lawyer Babar Awan called his detention a "state abduction."

The violence comes at a precarious time of severe economic crisis.

Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf or PTI party has called for a "shutdown" across the country of 220 million.

Police have arrested hundreds of Khan's followers.

PTI supporter Farhad Khan:

"Imran Khan's arrest is illegal and unconstitutional. The protests against it started last evening, continued through the night, and are still going on. The protesters will not stop until Imran Khan is released."

Mobile data services were shut for a second day and access to Twitter, YouTube and Facebook was disrupted.

The army was called in to restore order in at least two of Pakistan four provinces where Khan is most popular.

In Peshawar, chicken seller Malagul Khan showed what was left of his market stall.

"The protesters marched on us. There was firing from the other side (police), and firing from this side (protesters), during which our shops got destroyed. What sin have we committed that these people vandalised our shops? We request these people to stop this destruction. We, the ordinary people, are not guilty of any crime. Where should we go?"

Khan's arrest came a day after Pakistan's powerful military rebuked him for repeatedly accusing a senior officer of trying to engineer his assassination and the former armed forces chief of being behind his removal from power.

Khan was ousted in April 2022 in a parliamentary no-confidence vote.

He has not slowed his campaign against the ouster even though he was wounded in a November attack on his convoy.

He was leading a protest march to Islamabad calling for snap general elections.

The corruption case is one of more than 100 registered against him.