Following Imran Khan’s recent appearance as he was escorted to court under protection, fearing attacks while his head was covered, decisions were made to prevent the circulation of his images or any statements by him through Pakistani channels. In addition, he has been banned from traveling along with several members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party. Imran Khan’s arrest in early May 2023 sparked widespread protests by his supporters, raising new concerns about the stability of the nuclear-armed state amid its worst economic crisis. Khan has denied any wrongdoing.
Media Appearance Ban
After the conflict between Imran Khan’s supporters and Pakistani security forces reached unprecedented levels, and with the country experiencing severe economic crises on the brink of collapse, the Pakistani government issued a decision to ban Imran Khan from appearing in the media or having his images or statements circulated at this time due to the events caused by his supporters and the charges he is facing in Pakistani courts.
The former prime minister’s lawyer announced on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, the extension of his release on bail for three days in a case related to illegal gains.
On the other hand, Pakistani authorities have decided to prevent former Prime Minister Imran Khan, along with his wife and around 500 of his supporters, from traveling. The Pakistani government has prohibited Imran Khan, his wife, and hundreds of his political associates from traveling abroad amidst a crisis with the powerful military in the country.
The Federal Investigation Agency, responsible for immigration and borders, has added Imran Khan, his wife Bushra Bibi, and more than 500 leaders and members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party to the travel ban list.
Dozens of Charges against Imran Khan
The court’s decision comes a day after Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Rana Tanveer Hussain, announced that Imran Khan would be tried in a military court on charges of orchestrating attacks on military installations during the violent protests that erupted earlier this month. Tanveer Hussain accused Imran Khan, in an interview with the local radio “Dawn News,” of personally orchestrating acts of violence and attacks that resulted in the deaths of at least eight people and injuries to around 300 others, including over 100 police officers across the country.
Khan faces dozens of charges in cases filed against him in several Pakistani courts, including charges related to corruption, terrorism, and abuse of power. However, he denies any wrongdoing and asserts that all allegations are false, fabricated, and based on deliberate misinterpretation of the law and political motives.
The Pakistani army had vowed, in a statement, to bring those involved in heinous crimes against military installations and personnel to trial, following the riots that erupted after Imran Khan’s arrest on May 9.
Meanwhile, Pakistani affairs researcher Haitham Ahmed confirmed that the decision to prevent Imran Khan’s name, image, videos, and statements from appearing on Pakistani channels is an incorrect decision at the present time, as it exacerbates the tension among his supporters towards state institutions, further complicating the situation.
Ahmed explained, in exclusive statements to “Al-Marjeh,” that the decision to ban Khan from appearing on Pakistani channels was followed by another decision to ban him from traveling due to the actions of party members and Khan’s supporters in May, when they stormed military headquarters, set fire to and destroyed properties. He noted that after fueling racial tensions and threatening that the situation would become similar to 1971 when Bangladesh separated from Pakistan, Imran Khan’s supporters described the government as being “Yazidi” and labeled Imran Khan and his supporters as “Hussainis.”