Amid reports of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s imminent arrest under anti-terrorism charges, his legal team will approach court on Monday (August 22) seeking anticipatory bail. He may be granted bail before arrest.
Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party has warned that their leader is a “red line” and called on supporters to hit the streets in protest against his possible arrest. Hundreds of PTI workers also gathered outside Khan’s Islamabad residence on Sunday to show solidarity.
Here are the top developments in the matter:
- Imran Khan was booked under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (punishment for acts of terrorism) over comments he made at a rally in Islamabad last Saturday (August 20). He had reportedly hurled threats against Islamabad’s police chief and a female judge for what he claimed was the arrest and alleged torture of his close aide Shahbaz Gill, who is facing sedition charges.
- The FIR against Khan reads that in his speech, he had “terrorised and threatened top police officials and a respected female additional sessions judge” with the aim to stop them from performing their functions and abstain from pursuing any action against any individual related to his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party (PTI).
- It says that Khan’s speech had spread fear and uncertainty among the police, judges and the nation.
- At a press conference, Interior Minister Sanaullah said that the government was holding legal consultations before launching any case against Khan. He alleged that the PTI chief’s speech was a continuation of a trend to target the army and other institutions.
- The PTI has asked supporters to take to streets amid the possibility of Imran Khan’s arrest. The party also trended the hashtag “Imran Khan hamari red line” (Imran Khan is our red line) on Twitter.
- Senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry called on the people to show up in strength outside Bani Gala, Khan’s hilltop residence in Islamabad. He also shared a video on Twitter which purportedly showed busloads of PTI supporters on their way to Bani Gala.
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) August 22, 2022
- In a stern warning to the Shehbaz Sharif government, PTI leader Ali Amin Gandapur threatened to take over Islamabad, and urged the police to not be a “part of this political war anymore”.
If imran khan is arrested by the imported govt we will take over Islamabad and my message to police is that don’t be part of this political war anymore otherwise will deal u as pdm workers not police anymore let pti and pdm leadership and workers fight and decide once and for all
— Ali Amin Khan Gandapur (@AliAminKhanPTI) August 21, 2022
- Meanwhile, a defiant Khan addressed a rally at Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh ground on Sunday night. He has also accused the government of temporarily blocking YouTube in the country on Sunday evening to prevent people from listening live to the speech he gave at the political rally.
- The accusation came after Pakistan’s electronic media regulator late on Saturday announced a ban on the live airing of Khan’s speeches because of what it called his “hate speech” against state institutions.
- Reacting sharply to the ban imposed on the PTI chairman, his party said the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is a fascist regime.
- Khan has been pushing for new elections in Pakistan after being ousted from power in April through a parliamentary vote. He has been delivering fiery speeches at gatherings across the country, targeting a number of state institutions, including the government, the police and the powerful army.
(With inputs from Agencies)
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