Political tension in Pakistan deepened after authorities registered a case against former Prime Minister Imran Khan under the Anti-Terrorism Act and hundreds of his supporters reached his residence in Bani Gala near the capital Islamabad to show solidarity.
Meanwhile, Islamabad High Court granted pre-arrest bail to Khan till Aug. 25 and ordered him to appear before the anti-terrorism court in three days.
The situation remained tense in the capital after Khan's close aid and former Federal Minister Murad Saeed tweeted last night that the government has issued orders to arrest the former premier, urging the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s supporters to come out of their homes to protect Khan.
Soon after his tweet, hundreds of people along with their families gathered outside Imran Khan’s residence and blocked all entrances.
“Imran Khan is a red line for us,” Saeed said.
According to Islamabad police, they registered a case against Khan for "terrorizing and threatening" police officers and a female judge at a rally in Islamabad on Saturday.
The cricketer-turned-politician had said he will take action against the officials for the alleged torturing of Shahbaz Gill, his close aide and chief of staff, in police custody. Gill faces sedition charges for remarks that allegedly aimed to incite mutiny within Pakistan’s powerful military.
Former Federal Minister Ali Amin Gandapur also warned that they will take over Islamabad if the police arrested Khan.
“If Imran Khan is arrested by the imported govt we will take over Islamabad and my message to police is that don’t be part of this political war anymore,” he tweeted.
Earlier on Sunday, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said the government was mulling over the ex-premier's arrest.
Khan has staged a series of popular anti-government protests since being ousted from power in a no-confidence vote in April.
As he addressed a rally in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Sunday, many users in Pakistan complained of disruption in YouTube service, where the speech was being live-streamed.
NetBlocks, an organization that tracks internet outages, confirmed the development.
Khan called the "temporary blocking" a “new low” and “gross violation of freedom of speech.”
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