The regulator of media of Pakistan has decided to ban media broadcasts of former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speeches, officials said on Monday.
This has happened in coinciding with the arrival of the police officers in one of Khan’s homes to deliver a warrant for his arrest.
This development is the latest in a tussle between the ex star of the cricket and the government of his successor, Shahbaz Sharif, while Khan calls and presses for early elections.
The regulatory authority of the media he enforced the ban on Sunday and entered in force Monday.
The resolution included all recorded and live speeches by Khan, who was ousted in a vote of no confidence in parliament last April.
The ban came on the heels of a fiery speech by Khan, who has a large popular base, in which he criticized Sharif’s government and the military.
Khan’s party, the National Movement for Justice in Pakistan (Tahreek-e-Insaf), denounced the ban.
“This action shows the government’s concern and fear that Khan’s party will win the upcoming elections in two local councils,” Fawad Chaudhry, a senior party leader, told the Associated Press.
For its part, the commission said it had imposed the ban because of what it described as “Khan’s groundless allegations” against state authorities and institutions, referring to the army.
“Khan spreads hatred against state institutions, which is detrimental to the maintenance of law and order,” he added. He said any violation of the ban by any TV channel or newspaper would lead to his license being revoked.
This came hours after police arrived at Khan’s home in Lahore to hand him a warrant for his arrest on charges of avoiding appearances in court on charges of receiving gifts during his tenure and hiding assets.
But Khan’s aides told police he was at his other home in the capital, Islamabad. After the officers left, Khan appeared in front of the house and spoke about the decision to ban coverage of his speeches.
He spoke in front of television cameras, accusing an army general – who did not name himself – of having led a campaign of arrests against the leaders of his party in recent months.
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