Khan has denied any wrongdoing. Speaking in a television address after the ruling, he said he would wage “a jihad against this mafia” that brought the case against him. “I want to make a promise before all my people that I will continue to fight against these thieves, as long as I am alive,” he said.
Protests erupted after Friday’s verdict, with hundreds of Khan supporters blocking one of the main highways into Islamabad, chanting “Long live Imran Khan” and “Down with the Election Commission.” Pakistani police responded with volleys of tear gas.
At a news conference Friday, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah called the protests “unacceptable” and said local police chiefs had been ordered to “take action” against the Khan supporters. “We will not tolerate this,” Sanaullah said. “I warn Imran Khan and his supporters not to create a law-and-order situation. Otherwise, strict action will taken against them.”
The interior minister also said that any appeal by Khan’s legal team would be contested, as would any future bid for office. “We will go to every court at any level to punish this corrupt person,” he said. “We are not afraid of Khan’s so-called popularity, and we will fight him in field of politics, too.”
In his address, Khan called for an end to the protests but pledged to hold “the biggest protest ever in the country’s history” later this month. Tens of thousands of his supporters from throughout the country are expected to march on the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. The government has repeatedly said such a demonstration would be illegal.
Also Friday, it was announced that Pakistan had been removed from the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force’s “gray list,” a watchlist for terrorism funding and money laundering. Pakistan had been on the list since 2018, which made it more difficult to attract foreign business and investment.
This content was originally published here.