Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has been charged with terroristic threats amid the former politician’s quest to regain political power.
The charges stem from a speech Khan gave on Saturday. The divisive political figure promised to sue Islamabad’s police chief and a female judge over reported mistreatment of one of Khan’s party colleagues.
“You also get ready for it, we will also take action against you,” Khan reportedly said in the speech. “All of you must be ashamed.”
The political colleague that Khan was defending was Shahbaz Gill. Gill was charged with treason after allegedly urging soldiers and officers to refuse to obey “illegal orders” from the military leadership during a television appearance.
Treason under Pakistani law carries the death penalty. The channel that Gill spoke on, ARY, remains off-air in Pakistan following the broadcast.
Khan alleges that Gill, who suffers from asthma, was tortured in police custody. Pakistani authorities deny that any abuse took place during the detainment.
The arrest comes as Pakistan faces increased division and a political crisis, while Khan holds mass rallies in a bid to return to office.
Khan served as prime minister from 2018 until April 2022, when he was ousted through a no-confidence motion in the Pakistani parliament.
Khan’s opposition has concluded that his policies exacerbated inflation and plummeted the value of the Pakistani rupee. The ousting even sparked a constitutional crisis that required Pakistan’s Supreme Court to step in.
For allegedly threatening police officers and a judge, Khan could face several years in prison. Khan himself appeared to still be free on Monday and had not immediately addressed the police charge sheet being lodged against him.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.