Pakistan: Ex-premier Khan booked for ‘terrorizing’ police, judge

By Aamir Latif


KARACHI, Pakistan (AA): Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan has been booked for “terrorizing and threatening” police officers and a female judge at a rally in Islamabad on Saturday.

A case was registered against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

The cricketer-turned-politician had said he will take action against the officials for the alleged torturing of Shahbaz Gill, his close aid and chief of staff, in police custody. Gill faces sedition charges for remarks that allegedly aimed to incite mutiny within Pakistan’s powerful military.

Khan’s statements also prompted the country’s media watchdog to ban television channels from broadcasting his live addresses, a decision his party says will be challenged in court.

His speech, police record said, was meant to terrorize top police officials and the judiciary such that they could not perform their functions and abstain from pursuing any action against any leader of his party.  He was accused for allegedly threatening the additional sessions judge of the federal capital, Zeba Chaudhry.

Earlier on Sunday, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said the government was mulling over the ex-premier’s arrest.

Khan has staged a series of popular anti-government protests since being ousted from power in a no-confidence vote in April.

As he addressed a rally in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Sunday, many users in Pakistan complained of disruption in YouTube service, where the speech was being live-streamed.

NetBlocks, an organization that tracks internet outages, confirmed the development.

“Real-time network data show the disruption in effect on some but not all mobile and fixed-line internet providers in Pakistan during the live-streamed speech. Access was restored after the speech concluded,” it said.

Khan called the “temporary blocking” a “new low” and “gross violation of freedom of speech.”

It also negatively “affects the digital media industry and the livelihoods of many,” he added.

PTI leader Shireen Mazari also condemned the censorship and tweeted, “Regime change conspirators [are] so scared of Imran Khan that today in the middle of [his] speech they blocked YouTube through PTA. Shameful!

“This will not silence us. Fascism at its peak as fear overwhelms the cabal of crooks and their string pullers!” 

*Waleed Tariq in Ankara contributed to this story

[Archive Photo: Then Pakistan PM Imran Khan holds rally ahead of no confidence vote in Islamabad on 27 March 2022. Photographer: Muhammed Semih Ugurlu/AA]

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