Ex-Pakistan PM Imran Khan booked under terror law, faces arrest
Imran Khan, Pakistan's ousted prime minister, has been charged under the Anti-Terrorism Act for reportedly threatening police, the courts, and other state institutions during a rally in Islamabad on Saturday. The case emerged hours after minister Rana Sanaullah indicated on Sunday that the government was considering filing a complaint against Khan, 69, for his controversial speech on Saturday in the national capital's F-9 Park.
Why does this story matter?
- The rally on Saturday was organized by Khan's party to express solidarity with Shahbaz Gill, who was imprisoned allegedly for sedition, and to oppose the "blatant fascism" under PM Sharif's "imported government."
- Since his ouster in April, the cricketer-turned-politician has reportedly claimed that the no-confidence vote was the result of a "foreign conspiracy," while emphasizing that his party will not accept the "imported government."
What is the case all about?
According to the FIR, Khan "terrorized and threatened top police officials and a respected female additional session judge" in his address, while preventing them from carrying out their duties and taking any action against his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), or any of its associates. Khan threatened to sue top police officers, a woman magistrate, Pakistan's Election Commission, and political opponents over Gill's treatment.
PEMRA bans the broadcast of Khan's live speeches on television
Following Khan's controversial statement on Saturday evening, Pakistan's electronic media authority barred satellite television channels from airing his live speeches. "It has been observed that....Imran Khan.... in his speeches....is continuously alleging state institutions by leveling baseless allegations....spreading hate speech through his provocative statements....which is likely to disturb public peace and tranquility," Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) reportedly stated before banning his speeches.
Fascists in power: Khan's party hits back
However, PEMRA reportedly stated that Khan's taped speech may only be broadcast after ensuring an appropriate delay system to assure supervision and exercise editorial control. In response to the ban put on the PTI leader, his party reportedly asserted that PM Shehbaz Sharif's government is a fascist regime. Khan also claimed that the authorities temporarily blocked YouTube to prevent individuals from hearing his address.
Here's what Khan tweeted after the ban was imposed
The fascist Imported govt sunk to a new low today by banning live coverage of my speeches on TV then blocking YouTube temporarily during my speech at Liaquat Bagh. All this after continuous intimidation of mediapersons taking channels off air earlier.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 21, 2022
Details regarding the development
During the speech, Khan referred to the army as "neutrals" and asked his supporters to support the country rather than the "gang of thieves," while referring to the current coalition government. He also attacked the judiciary, calling them "biased." He also discussed the poor economic condition and rising inflation, stating that the country's army chief had to travel to Saudi Arabia to obtain loans.