Pakistan’s Ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan Hit With Terrorism Charges As He Warns Of Sri Lanka-Style Revolution


Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was hit with terrorism charges, police officials in Islamabad announced on Monday, in a move that is likely to worsen the already volatile political situation in the country where the former leader has called for a Sri Lankan-style overthrow of the government.

Key Facts

Khan has been accused by police of violating Pakistan’s anti-terror laws in a speech he delivered on Saturday in the capital Islamabad, where he allegedly threatened the inspector general of Islamabad Police and a female judge.

While speaking to his supporters, Khan accused police of torturing close aide Shahbaz Gill after arresting him last week and reportedly said he “would not be spare” the police chief and the judge for this.

Tensions spiked in Islamabad after reports of the charges against the former prime minister became public, with his party Tehreek-e-Insaf warning that Khan’s arrest would cross a “red line”—prompting a large number of supporters to gather near Khan’s residence.

Khan was offered some relief on Monday after the Islamabad High Court granted him protective bail—blocking his arrest until at least Thursday, Pakistani daily Dawn reported.

If the former prime minister is convicted on the terror charges, he could face several years in prison, the Associated Press reports.

Crucial Quote

“A plan has been made to place our party against the wall. I assure you, that the Sri Lankan situation is going to happen here,” Khan said in his latest speech delivered on Sunday night.

News Peg

Pakistan’s electronic media regulator has banned the country’s TV networks from broadcasting Khan’s speeches live since Saturday, alleging that they pose a threat to peace and stability in the country. Internet providers in Pakistan also moved to block YouTube in the country after livestreams of Khan’s speeches began to appear on the platform, global internet monitoring organization NetBlocks reported.

Key Background

Khan was removed from power in April this year after his party failed to win a drama-filled trust vote in the Pakistan parliament. Following Khan’s ouster, a coalition of multiple opposition parties took power in Pakistan with Shehbaz Sharif—the younger brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif—taking over as the new premier. Khan has since publicly railed against his ouster which he alleges is a conspiracy carried out by the Pakistan military as part of a U.S. plot against him. Khan has claimed, without evidence, that the U.S. wanted him out of power after he refused to allow it to set up military bases in Pakistan following their exit from neighboring Afghanistan. Khan has also suggested that Pakistan could resolve its severe economic crisis by importing energy from Russia despite U.S. reservations. Khan copped criticism both at home and abroad earlier this year for poor optics as his official visit to Moscow as prime minister coincided with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Despite this, Khan has continued to insist on building better ties with Russia and has even praised Pakistan’s chief rival India for doing the same.

Big Number

24.93%. That is the rate of inflation in Pakistan reported for the month of July, fueled by high energy and fuel prices.

Further Reading

Police file terrorism charges against Pakistan’s Imran Khan (Associated Press)

Islamabad High Court grants Imran protective bail till Thursday in terrorism case (Dawn)