Islamabad, Aug 21 (EFE).- Pakistan’s media regulator introduced a ban on live broadcasts of Imran Khan’s speeches on Sunday sparking outcry among the former prime minister’s supporters.
The move came hours after Khan criticized the government during a rally in Islamabad.
In his speech, which was broadcast live, Khan warned he would bring lawsuits against high-ranking police officers and magistrate Zeba Chaudhry over the detention of his assistant Shahbaz Gill.
Gill was detained on sedition charges on August 10 and was allegedly tortured while in police custody.
Khan’s political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), said the veto by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) was a sign of fascism.
“Imported Fascists are trying to ban Imran Khan’s speeches on TV,” the PTI tweeted before urging supporters to subscribe to their YouTube channel.
“They have lost the battle completely and are now using fascism” Khan’s party warned.
The regulator said in a notice sent to channels Saturday that Khan, in his speeches, was “continuously alleging state institutions by leveling baseless allegations and spreading hate speech through his provocative statements against state institutions and officers,” Pakistani media reported on Sunday.
A spokesperson for former Prime Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the ban had been imposed out of fear of Khan’s popular interventions.
PEMRA added that only pre-recorded Khan speeches would be aired from now on.
Gill, a close associate of Khan, faces sedition charges over comments he made on a television channel.
The politician was admitted to a state hospital in Islamabad this week after his health deteriorated while in police detention in neighboring Rawalpindi.
According to the PTI leader, Gill was subjected to physical torture, including “sexual abuse” while in police custody.
The move against Khan comes after a report was filed Saturday at an Islamabad police station over his speech inciting people to rebel against state institutions, according to police sources.
A police station official told Efe, on condition of anonymity, that “senior officers” would decide whether to file a case against Khan based on the report.
Khan was ousted from power in a vote of no confidence in April,a move orchestrated by incumbent Shehbaz Sharif. EFE