Former Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, along with 150 others, have been charged for blasphemy under the country’s new law, according to officials in a statement on Sunday.
The disputed charges has drawn nationwide condemnation of the government with critics saying the authority is using religion “as a tool” to intimidate political rivals.
The new blasphemy law under which Khan is being charged, was hurriedly put together after some Pakistani pilgrims heckled new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his delegation during an official visit to Saudi Arabia last Thursday.
The pilgrims who are allegedly linked to Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, were seen in videos chanting “traitors” and “thieves” as Sharif’s team members visited the Holy Mosque built by Prophet Mohammad in Medina.
The Saudi authorities has confirmed on Friday that they had arrested several Pakistanis for their alleged involvement in the incident and would charge them to court.
While defending the the blasphemy charges on Khan, Pakistani Interior Minister, Rana Sanaullah, in a tweet Sunday, promised to bring to justice those behind the incident in Saudi Arabia.
“No one will be spared in this matter and law will take its course,” the minister told a local television channel.
Sanaullah added that the former Prime Minister and his aides could be arrested if evidence linked them to the incident.
Khan and his aides have rejected the charges as “ridiculous” and an outcome of public pressure building on the new government in the wake of the deepening economic and energy crises facing Pakistan.
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