Protests: Charges brought against Pakistan’s ex-PM Imran Khan

Protests: Charges brought against Pakistan’s ex-PM Imran Khan

Observers suspect a political motivation behind the charges – Khan himself once used the judiciary as a tool against the opposition. If convicted, he faces imprisonment.

In Pakistan, the popular opposition leader and ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan was indicted on Wednesday over allegations related to state gifts. Khan has pleaded not guilty, his lawyer told reporters at the scene.

Khan faces charges of stealing government gifts he received while he was prime minister (2018-2022). He is accused of concealing proceeds from the sale of such valuable gifts. If convicted, he faces a prison sentence.

Allegations: corruption, money laundering and insult

Former cricket star Khan was arrested on Tuesday in the capital Islamabad, causing a stir. Since his dismissal by a vote of no confidence in April 2022, the judiciary has repeatedly brought new allegations against him. He now has to answer in court in around 100 cases. The allegations are about corruption, money laundering and insulting a judge.

After Khan’s arrest, thousands of his supporters took to the streets across the country. At least four people were killed in the demonstrations on Tuesday and Wednesday. Military installations and buildings in particular have been targeted in several cities across the country, which has a population of 230 million, as protesters see the powerful military behind Khan’s arrest.

Social media blocked

Schools and universities were closed on Wednesday. At the same time, the mobile Internet was switched off indefinitely and access to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube was blocked. Paramilitary security forces were deployed in Islamabad, where Khan’s supporters began gathering again on Wednesday. According to the Interior Ministry, the military is also to be deployed in the provinces of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In Punjab, 945 people were arrested for attacks on government buildings or police officers, said Syed Mubashir Hussain, police spokesman in Punjab, the German Press Agency on Wednesday. At least 130 security forces have been injured so far.

A court on Wednesday ordered Khan in custody for eight days. Khan’s party colleague Fawad Chaudhry said in Islamabad that his party had lodged an appeal against the arrest. Observers see the actions against Khan as politically motivated. Even under Khan as prime minister, the judiciary was used to prevent members of the opposition from pursuing their political activities.

Source: Stern

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