Calls Grow for Pakistan’s Imran Khan to Quit Party Leadership After Shocking Allegations

© AP Photo / Rahmat GulIn this Nov. 19, 2020 file photo, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a joint news conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, in Kabul, Afghanistan.
In this Nov. 19, 2020 file photo, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a joint news conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, in Kabul, Afghanistan.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.07.2022
The former premier is accused of ignoring a woman’s sexual assault claims, stealing her phone, using video clips of the incident for personal political gain, and even detaining her and her husband for a month and a half. The ruling Shehbaz Sharif administration has blasted Khan as a “blackmailer.”
Demands for Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan to resign as the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Party grew during the weekend after shocking allegations were leveled against him.
The allegations concern his response to claims of sexual assault against a leading government official.
Tayyaba Gul alleged on Thursday that she was sexually assaulted by the former chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), retired Justice Javed Iqbal. NAB is Pakistan's premier financial crimes and corruption watchdog.
While it's unclear when the alleged assault took place, controversial videos concerning the incident first surfaced on the internet in 2019.
Gul claimed that she was asked to meet the then-PM Khan at his official residence after registering a complaint on the prime minister's complaint portal.
After promising that the government would help in her quest for justice, authorities purportedly proceeded to confiscate her phone and broadcast videos contained on it on local television channels without her permission. In the sleazy clips, Gul and the NAB chief could be seen in compromising positions.
She went as far as to allege that Khan used her videos to blackmail the NAB supremo into closing watchdog-led investigations against his party colleagues and opening cases against his political rivals.
Gul further claimed that she and her husband were also illegally held at the PM's home for a month and a half on the false pretext of providing justice.
The woman's allegations have given a shot in the arm to Pakistan's ruling alliance that has been looking to pin Khan down for a while.
While Water Minister Khursheed Shah described the alleged usage of the prime minister's official residence in the scandal as "shameful,” Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) Vice-President Maryam Nawaz, who is also PM Shehbaz Sharif’s niece, accused Khan of running a blackmailing racket.
"Imran Khan should immediately resign from his party leadership following the statement of Tayyaba Gul on being kept in the PM house for one and a half months. Imran should first face a transparent investigation and prove his innocence and then take part in politics," Shah told local media on Friday.
For her part, Nawaz told supporters that "Imran used the videos to blackmail the NAB chief to lodge cases against his political opponents.”
Meanwhile, the Public Accounts Committee of the Pakistani parliament has decided to investigate the matter amid mounting social media backlash over the allegations.
"Shehbaz Sharif as PM should take action against Javed Iqbal for sexual harassment and blackmailing a woman, while Imran [Khan] and Azam Khan [Imran’s personal secretary] for fraud, blackmailing and keeping Tayaba Gul and her husband in PM house against their will in incommunicado," one Twitter user said.
Khan is yet to make a statement over the allegations.
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