Pakistan’s election body issues arrest warrant against ex-PM Khan

The new case adds to the legal troubles facing Imran Khan since he was removed as prime minister in April last year.

Imran Khan
Imran Khan was removed as prime minister in a no-confidence vote in April 2022. [File: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters]

Pakistan’s Election Commission has issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Imran Khan in the latest legal challenge facing the former prime minister.

The latest case came on Monday, the same day Khan was granted bail by the Supreme Court in a different case. Khan has been slapped with more than 150 cases, including “terrorism” since he was removed as prime minister in a no-confidence vote in parliament in April last year.

The warrant, issued in Islamabad, said Khan was in contempt of the Election Commission’s proceedings and had failed to appear before the commission despite earlier notices and bailable warrants.

Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party posted an image of the warrant, saying it was received at Khan’s residence in Lahore by a member of his legal team.

“The Election Commission of Pakistan’s notice was received at the residence of Chairman Tehreek-e-Insaaf. The notice was received by Rai Muhammad Ali Advocate, a member of the legal team. The Election Commission has requested the Chairman Tehreek-e-Insaf to appear on July 25. Chairman Tehreek-e-Insaf will appear before the Election Commission tomorrow,” Monday’s post said.

The 70-year-old politician has been accused of using “intemperate language and contemptuous remarks” against the Election Commission.

It has directed the capital’s inspector general of police to arrest Khan and present him before the election body on Tuesday.

Addressing his supporters on YouTube shortly after the arrest warrant, Khan said he was “ready for jail”.

Now the main opposition leader, Khan has used his strong social media following to address his supporters as Pakistan’s media regulatory body has banned local television channels from broadcasting his speeches and naming him.

“Media is under their control, and they have turned every television channel into state-run media,” he said of the ban.

Another criminal case against Khan was announced last week when the interior minister said the government would open criminal proceedings against Khan on charges of exposing official secrets in relation to diplomatic correspondence between Washington and Islamabad.

In his address late on Monday, Khan said he was going to appear in a Federal Investigation Agency hearing into the case on Tuesday but alleged that every case against him was “bogus” and “fake”.

The former prime minister alleged that Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah wants to put him behind bars and has been acting as “judge, jury and executioner”.

Khan was arrested in May by Pakistani authorities in connection with a corruption case, which sparked deadly unrest across the country. He was released on bail within days.

Last month, the army sacked three senior officers, including a lieutenant general, over the violent attacks on military assets by the former prime minister’s supporters to protest his arrest.

Khan has put the finger of blame for his ouster on the powerful army, which remains the de facto ruler in the South Asian nation of more than 200 million people.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies