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Can Pakistan’s Imran Khan and army patch up, a year after violent clashes?

Both sides have so far rejected concessions, but many analysts say this rupture is untenable and a compromise is needed.

Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan Army chief General Asim Munir was blunt. Addressing army officials during his visit to Lahore Garrison on May 9, Munir said, “There can be no compromise or deal with the planners and architects of this dark chapter in our history.”

Munir was referring to the events of May 9, 2023, when Pakistan erupted in violence and a subsequent crackdown after former Prime Minister Imran Khan was arrested while appearing before the Islamabad High Court for a hearing into a case of corruption.

Thousands of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party workers responded to Khan’s arrest by storming the streets in various cities, demanding his immediate release and going on a rampage in which state buildings and military installations were targeted. Angry supporters in Lahore targeted the residence of a top military commander, torching the building. Another group of protesters raided the gates of the Pakistani military’s headquarters in Rawalpindi.

While Khan was released two days later, he was arrested again in August. The police had by that time arrested thousands of PTI workers and party leaders. An already tense relationship between Pakistan’s military and the PTI ruptured, descending into public hostility.

Now, a year later, that broken relationship continues to strain a political system that is also struggling to manage an economic crisis striking at the everyday lives of Pakistan’s 240 million people, analysts say. The military, which felt directly challenged — even attacked — on May 9, 2023, remains Pakistan’s most powerful institution. Meanwhile, the PTI, which emerged as Pakistan’s