Imran Khan’s political party could be barred with the decision “under consideration”, a Pakistan minister has said – in a move that could deepen a tense stand-off between the former prime minister and the country’s government and military.
Defence minister Khawaja Asif said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) “has attacked very basis of the state” which “could not be tolerated”.
He added parliament would have to give final approval for a government decision to ban the party.
PTI party lawyer Ali Zafar said any such move would be challenged in court.
He said an entire party cannot be blamed for acts committed by individuals.
It follows countrywide protests by Mr Khan’s supporters sparked by his arrest on 9 May on corruption charges.
Clashes with police left 10 people dead and dozens injured. Mr Khan was released on 12 May following a ruling of the country’s Supreme Court.
More on Imran Khan
Just days after his bail, he exclusively told Sky News that Pakistan’s government is “petrified of elections”.
He claimed they fear being “wiped out” by his party at the polls and said democracy in his country was at “an all-time low”.
Mr Khan, 70, a popular opposition leader, was prime minister between 2018 and 2022.
Read more:Imran Khan warns of threats to Pakistan’s democracy
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Pakistan’s former prime minister, Imran Khan spoke to Sky News about his arrest on an alleged corruption charge
He was ousted in a no confidence vote in parliament in April last year, which he claims was illegal.
The cricket-star turned politician has since campaigned for snap elections, which his successor Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has rejected.
Mr Khan is now facing more than 100 legal cases against him. He’s denied all the allegations including those of corruption committed while in office and terrorism following those demonstrations which saw protesters attack military buildings.
Yesterday, a court in Islamabad granted the former prime minister protection from arrest until 8 June.
He later appeared before the National Accountability Bureau to answer questions in a separate case.
Image: Supporters of Imran Khan throw stones towards police during a protest against his arrest, in Peshawar, Pakistan
Last night Fayyaz ul Hassan Chohan, a key leader in the PTI, said he was quitting the party over Mr Khan’s “politics of confrontation with the state and the military”.
Source : Sky News