ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — One month ago, it looked as if Pakistan’s orderly capital was about to go up in flames. Thousands of protesters were marching toward the city from all directions, spurred by charismatic opposition leader Imran Khan and his crusade against alleged financial misdeeds by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The government, determined to stop them, blocked the roads with cargo containers and concrete slabs, and troops were ready with tear gas and rubber bullets.
Today, the threat of violent confrontation in the streets — averted at the last minute when the Supreme Court intervened — has been replaced by a drawn-out courtroom duel between two political camps. The country has been riveted by the clash of titans, with its blizzards of documents, grandiloquent speeches and competing versions of convoluted financial transactions that took place years ago in London, the Middle East and the British Virgin Islands.
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