Anything is possible in Pakistan: a country ruined by personal grudges of the political elites. Recently, Pakistani police filed terrorism charges against the former PM, Imran Khan which escalatedpolitical tensions in the country. Charges followed a speech the ousted premier gave in Islamabad on Saturday where he vowed to sue the police and the female judge.
The controversy centres around Shehbaz Gill, who a few weeks earlier urged soldiers to disobey legal orders from their military leaders. Imran Khan defended his friend by condemning the IG of Pakistan’s police force, and the judge he deemed responsible for Gill’s arrest.
“You also get ready for it, we will also take action against you,” Khan reportedly said. “All of you must be ashamed.”
Imran Khan’s speeches have been banned from live satellite TV broadcasts due to his “baseless allegations” against the state. The decision to charge PM Khan with terrorism came with support from different political leaders.
“Banishing completely a political leader from the media is not the best policy,” tweeted former Pakistani Senator Farhatullah Babar of the opposition centre-left Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). “It risks making someone bigger than life unwittingly and undeservingly.”
Banning an individual that has the highest Twitter following in Pakistan is a bit absurd. With 17 million followers he is heard by every Pakistani. A ban on his speeches might hardly reap the outcomes the opposition wanted to get. On Sunday, access YouTube was restricted across the country in an apparent attempt to restrict a live speech he was giving in the northern city of Rawalpindi.
Khan has not said much about the charges. For him, the predicament is one of the many salvos as the country lurchs from one crisis to the other. The hyper-polarised political environment, and the runaway inflation, coupled with a dwindling economy, Imran Khan’s arrest is just another episode in Pakistan’s downfall. No matter how you slice it, it’s a very uneasy and volatile moment for Pakistan,” says Kugelman.
by Amna Sheikh