Pakistan’s Election Commission has issued an arrest warrant for former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is facing a contempt charge for allegedly using “intemperate language” against government officials. The non-bailable arrest warrant was issued on Monday, instructing the Islamabad Inspector General to bring Khan into custody over “contemptuous remarks” he is accused of making about the commission. Khan is expected to appear before officials on Tuesday.
Khan’s political party, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), later shared an image of the warrant on social media, showing only the first page of the document. The contempt charges were launched against the former prime minister and other PTI officials last year, with the commission previously asking them to appear in person to explain their position. However, Khan and his fellow party members challenged the order in the courts, arguing that the election body had abused its power.
In January, Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of the government, allowing it to continue the proceedings against Khan, who skipped another hearing set earlier this month. A senior Election Commission official clarified that the warrant was “meant only for ensuring the presence of the suspect before the bench,” adding that Khan would be a “free man” afterward.
Khan, now one of Pakistan’s top opposition leaders, stated that he is “ready for jail” in a statement to his supporters, which was shared online after the news of the warrant broke.
Khan has faced a long list of charges since he was removed from office in a no-confidence vote last year, including “terrorism.” One year after his ouster, the 70-year-old politician and former cricket star was arrested in connection to a corruption case, triggering a wave of violent protests across Pakistan. He was released on bail within a matter of days but later arrested again in a separate case.
Initially, Khan claimed he was overthrown in a coup at the behest of the US but later retracted that statement, saying that Pakistan “must have good relationships with everyone, especially the United States.” However, he continues to blame Pakistan’s army, asserting that military officials played a major role in his removal from power and his subsequent legal cases.
With Pakistan’s next election set for November 10 at the latest, Khan has accused the country’s military leadership of trying to prevent him from running. He believes that once the establishment feels that PTI will no longer be able to win the elections, they will announce them.
The arrest warrant issued for Imran Khan highlights the ongoing political tensions in Pakistan. As an influential opposition leader, Khan faces scrutiny and legal challenges from the government, while he maintains that the country’s military is playing a significant role in his political troubles. The upcoming elections will serve as a key indicator of the political landscape in Pakistan and the ability of opposition parties to navigate a complex political environment.