Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan has been charged under the country's Anti-Terrorism Act on Sunday for allegedly threatening law enforcement and the courts, along with other governmental institutions, the Press Trust of India reported.
The indictment was filed in response to a speech Khan gave at a rally in the Pakistani capital city Islamabad on Saturday night, in which he allegedly "terrorized and threatened" police and judges.
The speech in question came after one of his senior aides was arrested and was directed at the police officers and a judge involved.
It also came after the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) banned channels from broadcasting Khan's live speeches. Khan also accused the government of blocking YouTube in the country to further deny his ability to give live speeches to a broader audience. This, he said, is part of the government's efforts to censor him for not accepting their validity.
Despite charges being filed against him, it is unclear of Khan was actually arrested.
This is not only a gross violation of freedom of speech but also negatively affects the digital media industry and the livelihoods of many. What they need to understand is that no matter what they do, they cannot suppress the will of the people which is Haqeeqi Azadi.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 21, 2022
"Imran Khan is clearly an order of magnitude stronger than he was when he was removed — the removal was probably the best thing to happen to him."Adil Najam
Background: Imran Khan and Pakistan - what's going on?
Khan was recently ousted from the Pakistani Prime Minister's Office in April after being elected in 2018, and remains a divisive figure with a still vocal support base.
This, in turn, has seen a worsening Pakistani political power struggle between the new government and with Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party.
Ever since Khan's ousting, which was made possible due to a parliamentary vote of confidence, the former cricket star has been making fiery speeches to gatherings across the South Asian nation as he pushes for new elections.
And Imran Khan's popularity in Pakistan is still evident by the tens of thousands of people that flock to his rallies and the success his party has had in local elections.
As explained by Pakistani political expert Adil Najam, dean of Boston University's Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, "Imran Khan is clearly an order of magnitude stronger than he was when he was removed — the removal was probably the best thing to happen to him," according to The New York Times.
The government regulators have warned that Khan's speeches are problematic, with PERMA saying on Saturday that they were "prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order and likely to disturb public peace and tranquility."
It further accused Khan of "continuously ... leveling baseless allegations and spreading hate speech through his provocative statements against state institutions."
This is a developing story.
Reuters contributed to this report.