Why Pakistan Govt Wants To Arrest Former PM Imran Khan For Hosting A Rally

Ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act on Sunday after a case was registered against him for threatening police, judiciary and other state institutions at his Islamabad rally on Saturday.

Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan mobilised an anti-government rally in Islamabad recently

Amid high drama, ousted Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was given relief by the Islamabad High Court on Monday which granted him protective bail till Thursday in a terrorism case. The case was registered against him for threatening police, judiciary and other state institutions at his Islamabad rally on Saturday. Khan was later booked on Sunday under the Anti-Terrorism Act. Earlier that day, Khan moved the court seeking pre-arrest bail in the case.

Why was Imran Khan arrested?

Khan's arrest came after he gave a speech at a rally in his support in which Khan threatened to file cases against top police officials, a woman magistrate, Election Commission of Pakistan and political opponents over the treatment meted out to his aide Shahbaz Gill, who was arrested last week on charges of sedition. 

According to the FIR against Khan, which was registered at the Margalla Police Station of Islamabad, Khan has in his speech "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.

In his speech, Khan had also taken exception to Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry, who had approved Gill’s two-day physical remand at the request of the capital police, and said she should “prepare herself as action would be taken against her."

On Saturday, Pakistan's electronic media watchdog banned satellite television channels from broadcasting live speeches of Khan following his provocative address on Saturday night. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) in a communique issued on Saturday said that TV channels despite repeated warnings had failed to implement a time-delay mechanism to stop the broadcast of material against “state institutions”.

'Govt crossed all limits'

Reacting sharply to the ban imposed on the PTI chairman, his party said the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has a fascist regime.

"Imported fascists are trying to ban Imran Khan’s speeches on TV. They have lost the battle completely and now using fascism; they will fail! #HelpPakistan by raising our voices against fascists!,” Khan’s party tweeted.

The petition filed by Khan's lawyers Babar Awan and Faisal Chaudhry stated that Khan was a “target of the ruling PDM (Pakistan Democratic Movement) for his fearless criticism, and extremely bold and blunt stance against corruption and corrupt politicians”, the Dawn newspaper reported.

“And to achieve this malicious agenda, acting in a most unfortunate and clumsy manner, a false and frivolous complaint has been registered against him by the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) police at the behest of the incumbent government,” it added.

The plea further alleged that the government had decided to “cross all limits” to arrest Imran “under false accusations” and was “hell-bent to sort out the petitioner and his party at all costs”. 

Relentless attack

Since he was ousted from power in April, the cricketer-turned politician has repeatedly claimed that the no-trust motion against him was the result of a “foreign conspiracy”.

Khan has also emphasised that his party would not deal with or accept the “imported government” headed by prime minister Sharif. 

Meanwhile, a defiant Khan addressed a rally at Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh ground on Sunday night. 

"Now Pemra is also in the game. What has Imran Khan done? His only crime is that he is not accepting this imported government," Khan said responding to the Pemra banning of his live speeches. 

He also talked about the deteriorating economic situation and inflation, saying the country’s army chief had to go to countries like Saudi Arabia to get loans.
"The only way to bring the country out of the current situation is to hold fair and free elections,” he said

(With inputs from PTI)