Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was charged on Sunday under the country’s anti-terrorism law for allegedly threatening a senior police official and a judge in a speech, according to multiple reports.
Why is this important: The accusation is a significant escalation in the power struggle between the former cricketer great and the current government following Khan’s ousting from power in April in a no-confidence vote, and it is feared the action could trigger New Troubles in Pakistan, The New York Times Notes.
Driving the news: The charges relate to a speech by Khan on Saturday evening in the capital, Islamabad, in which he criticized the treatment of his aide Shahbaz Gill by officials after he was arrested last week on charges of sedition, NDTV reports.
- Officials told The New York Times that Khan has not yet been arrested.
What they say : The chairman of the Islamabad capital police said in A declaration after Khan’s speech, anyone “making threats or allegations will be dealt with according to law”.
Meanwhile, Khan accused the government of banning live coverage of his speeches on television and blocking footage on YouTube.
- “This is not only a gross violation of freedom of expression, but it also negatively affects the digital media industry and the livelihoods of many,” he tweeted.
The big picture: Khan took office in 2018 after portraying himself as an anti-establishment politician who vowed to root out corruption in politics, but opposition parties have claimed this never happened under his leadership.
- The leader of Pakistan’s Tehreek Insaf (Justice) party suffered several defections in the weeks before his ousting and a key ally left the coalition, costing him a majority in parliament.
Editor’s Note: This is a topical article. Please check for updates.