LAHORE, Pakistan: Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Wednesday (Mar 22) sought a parliament ruling to empower authorities to tackle former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party’s alleged involvement in violence.
The ruling was asked for in a joint session of parliament convened over the instability caused by the crisis over Khan.
Sanaullah told the house nearly 68 security personnel were injured in clashes and 16 arrested Khan aides will be tried on terrorism charges.
The clashes erupted after Khan’s supporters prevented police and paramilitary forces from arresting him in a case in which he is accused of unlawfully selling state gifts during his tenure as premier from 2018-2022. He denies any wrongdoing.
The minister requested the house give “guidance” to the government about the violence stoked by Khan’s supporters, who he said included “miscreants, armed groups, and terrorists”.
“It is required that the security forces should be given authority and other measures to deal with this issue,” he said, adding that Khan’s agenda is “chaos and anarchy.”
The government has alleged that Khan’s supporters had militants among them and ministers have called for proscribing Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.
Khan has rejected the allegation, saying that the government wanted his party out of politics.
The former premier has demanded snap elections since he was ousted in a parliamentary vote of confidence in April last year. Khan’s successor Shehbaz Sharif has said that a general election will be held as scheduled later this year.