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Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan faces arrest warrant in contempt case

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Pakistan’s Election Commission has issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against former Prime Minister Imran Khan in a contempt case, adding to his legal troubles since he was ousted from power last year.

The warrant, issued on Monday, said Khan had failed to appear before the commission despite earlier notices and bailable warrants. He is accused of using “intemperate language and contemptuous remarks” against the election body.

Khan’s party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), said it had received the notice at Khan’s residence in Lahore and that he would appear before the commission on Tuesday.

Khan, who was removed as prime minister in a no-confidence vote in April 2022, has faced more than 150 cases, including “terrorism”, corruption, murder and sedition. He has denied any wrongdoing and accused his political rivals of orchestrating a witch-hunt against him.

Last week, Pakistan’s interior minister said the government would open criminal proceedings against Khan on charges of exposing official secrets, in relation to diplomatic correspondence between Washington and Islamabad.

Khan, who is now the main opposition leader, has also faced a media blackout as Pakistan’s media regulatory body has banned local television channels from broadcasting his speeches and naming him. He has used his strong social media following to address his supporters and criticize the government.

Khan, a former cricket star, came to power in 2018 on a populist platform of fighting corruption and reforming the economy. He had a rocky relationship with the powerful military establishment, who helped him to get power but later his relation turned sour. It is pertinent to mention here that the military established has ruled Pakistan for much of its history.

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