Former Pakistani prime minister charged with blasphemy

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NEW DELHI, May 2 – RIA Novosti. Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has been charged with blasphemy, which could lead to up to 10 years in prison or the death penalty, Dawn reports.
The case was brought by the Punjab provincial police against Khan himself and 150 others, including several former ministers and key members of his Tehreek-e-Insaf party, at the request of one Muhammad Naim.

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According to the complaint, Khan and his supporters were involved in a rally last Thursday against new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif during his visit to Saudi Arabia. When the new prime minister of Pakistan and members of his delegation arrived at the Al-Masjid-e-Nabawi mosque in Medina, hundreds of people began shouting anti-Sharif slogans. Video footage shows people believed to be pilgrims from Pakistan shouting “thief” and “traitor” and using foul language against Sharif and his delegation. Saudi authorities later said they had arrested five Pakistani nationals allegedly involved in the incident.
In turn, Khan himself and members of his party deny involvement in this incident and say that the accusations are the beginning of an attack on Khan by the new authorities.

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In early April, the lower house of Pakistan’s parliament elected Shahbaz Sharif, president of the Pakistan Muslim League (N), as prime minister. He was effectively the only candidate in the elections after the Tehreek-e-Insaf party withdrew from parliament shortly before the scheduled election of a new prime minister. At the same time, on the eve of the vote on the candidacy of the prime minister, thousands of people took part in demonstrations in support of Khan and his Tehreek-e-Insaf party. As the ex-premier himself noted, “never in our history have such crowds come out so spontaneously and in such numbers, rejecting an imported government led by swindlers.”
Shortly after the appointment of a new prime minister, Khan demanded the immediate holding of parliamentary elections in the country, following which a new head of government would be determined.

Translation by RJ983

Disclaimer: Via RIA Novosti – Checked

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