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Pakistan Suppresses Rally for Former Leader Imran Khan as He Expresses Solidarity for Palestine Behind Bars

Pakistan’s government was accused of temporarily slowing down access to the internet on the same day the PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) organized a massive online rally for their leader Imran Khan. 

Several netizens expressed their frustration online at the slow speed of the internet. A statement on the PTI website further added, “The timing of the internet outage has raised eyebrows, occurring just before the PTI’s virtual assembly scheduled for 9:00 pm. Netblocks, an internet watchdog, highlighted this temporal correlation, leading to speculation about a potential connection between the outage and the political event.”

“It is absolutely despicable that in an era that boasts connectivity and open dialogue, we are witnessing a flagrant suppression of free speech and that too, on a national scale,” it said, adding that the move represents a clear infringement on the basic right to self-expression.

“The audacity of this blatant suppression is not just an affront to the citizens it seeks to control; it lays bare the regime’s utter incompetence in maintaining a resilient digital infrastructure,” the statement said.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister and cricketer was sentenced to three years of imprisonment on Aug. 5, 2023. The timing of the rally comes just a few months before Pakistan’s elections which will be held on Feb. 8 2024.

In a speech which garnered over 1.4 million views on Youtube and saw a live audience of tens of thousands on other social media forms, the revered leader said, “Our party is not allowed to hold public rallies,” as he urged supporters to show up in large numbers for the elections. “Our people are being kidnapped and their families are being harassed,” he stated.

Khan has also openly condemned the Israeli regime for its onslaught on Gaza which has now killed almost 20,000 people, mostly women and children. Imran Khan, who is currently behind bars in Pakistan,  asked his lawyers to post his message of solidarity to the Palestinians from his official account. 

“There is a genocide going on and it is utterly condemnable to see how the powerful are allowing it to happen with impunity. Israel is allowed to break all international laws as it commits war crimes and crimes against humanity in its massacre of the Palestinian people. The Muslim World must not just raise their voice against this but should also move to ensure an end to the #GazaGenocide. Our people will not forgive us if we do not stand on the side of Justice and Humanity,” he said in his post.

In an online video, Khan had also previously stated that Pakistan’s stance is the same stance of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan and even mentioned that no one can change it. 

Muhammad Al Jinnah was known to openly condemn the Israeli regime for he once famously stated that ‘’Israel is a dagger entered to the heart of the Ummah, this is an illegitimate state that Pakistan will never accept’.”

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