Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Pakistan’s Imran Khan charged under anti-terror law for ‘threatening police and judge’

Ex-PM’s speech blamed Islamabad’s police chief and a judge for alleged mistreatment of aide

Stuti Mishra
Monday 22 August 2022 18:11 BST
Related: Last time Imran Khan’s supporters came onto streets it resulted in violent clashes across Pakistan

Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan has been charged under the country’s anti-terrorism laws over an alleged threat in a weekend speech.

The charges relate to a speech made by Mr Khan a day earlier in capital Islamabad in which he slammed the police for the alleged torture of his aide Shahbaz Gill following his arrest on sedition charges.

The speech blamed Islamabad’s police chief and a judge for the detention and alleged mistreatment of Mr Gill.

“You should also get ready as we will take action against you,” Mr Khan announced to the crowd, referring to the pair directly.

The former international cricketer also accused the government of blocking YouTube in the country to deny live access to his speech.

“Imported government blocked YouTube midway through my speech,” Mr Khan tweeted.

Although the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has not responded to Mr Khan’s accusation, Islamabad police denied allegations of custodial torture of Mr Gill.

It has in turn accused Mr Khan of breaking the country’s anti-terrorism law because his “threats” have led to “fear and terror among the police”.

“The way Imran Khan made his speech and the threats he made led to fear and terror among the police, judiciary and the common people, and it harmed the peace of [the] country,” police said in its charges, according to The Washington Post.

Hundreds of the former prime minister’s supporters gathered outside his home in Islamabad after news of the investigation broke, vowing to “take over” the capital if police tried to detain him.

“They will have to run over us before they can reach Khan,” supporter Sher Jahan Khan told the Associated Press outside Khan’s hilltop home overlooking Islamabad.

“If Imran Khan is arrested... we will take over Islamabad with people’s power,” a former minister in Khan's cabinet, Ali Amin Gandapur, threatened in a post on Twitter.

The police, who were present at the scene, had to clarify they were not there to arrest the former leader but to maintain law and order.

Later in the day, a court granted Khan three days of pre-arrest bail, Khan’s lawyer, Babar Awan, told reporters, after which the protesters began to disperse.

Mr Khan is continuing his aggressive campaign against the Shehbaz Sharif government, accusing it of stealing the premiership with the help of foreign support.

The former prime minister has raised concerns about censorship of his speeches in the past.

He earlier said the government was “banning live coverage” of his speeches and events, many of which he claimed have had massive turnouts.

“This is not only a gross violation of freedom of speech but also negatively affects the digital media industry and the livelihoods of many,” Mr Khan tweeted in reference to the ban.

Mr Khan was ousted in a historic no-confidence motion in April this year. He has since intensified attacks on the government in recent months.

The country is expected to hold an election early next year.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in