QUETTA, Pakistan — Pakistani police on Wednesday officially named former prime minister Imran Khan in connection with the killing by unknown gunmen of a lawyer seeking sedition charges against him.
Police have registered an ‘encouragement to murder’ case against former cricketer hero Khan, 70, who has faced dozens of charges since being ousted in a parliamentary confidence vote in April from last year.
Khan, who has not been charged in connection with the lawyer’s murder, dismissed all charges against him as concocted by his opponents.
Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Party Information Secretary Rauf Hasan did not respond to a request for comment.
Provincial government spokesman Babar Khan said Khan could face formal charges if and when the murder case goes to trial.
Abdur Razaq, the murdered lawyer, had filed a lawsuit seeking sedition proceedings against Khan for dissolving his government after the no-confidence motion.
Razaq was on his way to court on Tuesday when gunmen on motorbikes shot and killed him, police said.
Razaq’s son, Siraj Ahmad, also a lawyer, told police his father was killed by unidentified people with “the complicity of the former prime minister”, according to a police report filed by him and seen by Reuters.
It was not immediately clear how the link between unknown gunmen and Khan was established.
Last week, Khan was released on bail on terrorism charges of inciting violence against the military by his protesting supporters after he was arrested and detained on May 9 in a corruption case.
The embattled Khan is embroiled in a confrontation with the mighty military, which has ruled Pakistan directly or overseen civilian governments throughout its history.
His arrest on May 9 sparked widespread protests from his supporters who ransacked military installations, sparking fresh concerns about the stability of the nuclear-armed South Asian nation as it battles its worst economic crisis for decades.
Khan called for talks to end the standoff with the military. The government rejected his appeal.
Khan accused the military and its intelligence agency of openly trying to destroy his party, saying he had “no doubt” he would be tried by a military tribunal and thrown in prison.
(Writing by Asif Shahzad; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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