(Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan)

Pakistan’s former PM Khan’s supporters vow to prevent his arrest

Hundreds of supporters of Pakistan’s former prime minister, Imran Khan, gathered on Monday (Aug. 22) outside his home in Islamabad, vowing to prevent his arrest, Reuters reported citing officials of his political party. Pakistan’s police have charged  Khan under anti-terror laws.

The protesters chanted slogans against the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, which took over after Khan’s ouster in a confidence vote in April. “If Imran Khan is arrested … we will take over Islamabad with people’s power,” a former minister in his cabinet, Ali Amin Gandapur, threatened on Twitter.

Since being ousted from power in April, Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician, has been a vocal critic of the government and the country’s army. He has been holding mass rallies across the country seeking to return to office and has alleged his removal was a result of a “foreign conspiracy”.

Hours after he spoke at a massive rally Saturday (Aug. 20) in the capital, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) ordered television channels in the country not to show Khan’s future live speeches. However, it allowed airing of only pre-recorded speeches by Khan. In his speech on Saturday,

Khan promised 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 earlier this month on charges of sedition. Saturday’s rally was organised by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party to express solidarity with Gill.

The use of anti-terrorism laws as the basis of cases against political leaders is not uncommon in Pakistan, where Khan’s government also used them against opponents and critics.

With reporting by Reuters, Al Jazeera, The Hindu