Imran Khan Says Pakistan’s Youtube Block Aims To Censor Him

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was facing charges under an anti-terrorism law for threatening police and a magistrate, accused the government of temporarily blocking YouTube to deny live access to his speech during of a political rally.

Aamir Qureshi | AFP | Getty Images

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who faced charges on Sunday under an anti-terrorism law for threatening police and a magistrate, accused the government of temporarily blocking YouTube to deny live access to his speech at a political rally.

Khan delivered fiery speeches at rallies across the South Asian nation as he pushed for new elections after being ousted from power in April by a parliamentary vote.

The charge of blocking Youtube follows a Saturday ban by the electronic media regulator on the live broadcast of Khan’s speeches, citing what it called his “hate speech” against state institutions.

“The imported government blocked YouTube in the middle of my speech,” Khan said on Twitter.

A spokesman for internet regulator the Telecommunications Authority of Pakistan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reuters could not immediately contact Khan for comment.

“Provocative Statements”

Khan’s speeches were “prejudicial to the maintenance of public order and likely to disturb public peace and tranquility”, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) said on Saturday.

He accused Khan of “continually … issuing baseless allegations and propagating hate speech through his provocative statements against state institutions”.

He banned the live broadcast of his speeches by news channels, with immediate effect, but made an exception for recorded speeches.

Pakistan’s government, police and its powerful military were among the targets of Khan’s remarks.

Shortly after Saturday’s television ban, Khan’s party pledged to go live on “over 500 YouTube and Facebook channels”.

However, many Pakistani social media users reported problems accessing YouTube on Sunday as Khan was about to address a rally in the garrison town of Rawalpindi.

In those comments, Khan said he was being censured for not accepting the current coalition government, which ousted him from power.

The TV ban came a day after Khan threatened Islamabad’s police chief and a female judge over what he called the arrest and alleged torture of a close aide who faces to charges of sedition for urging lower ranks of the military to defy orders from superiors.

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