- Dozens of policemen, paramilitary troops have been assigned to Khan’s Islamabad residence
- Security forces would also escort Khan whenever he leaves Islamabad
- Khan’s supporters have held several rallies since last month, when he was ousted by the opposition
Pakistan heightened the security around former Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday, the interior ministry said, two days after he had claimed at a rally in eastern Punjab province that there was a plot to assassinate him.
The ministry said in a statement that dozens of policemen, along with paramilitary troops, have been assigned to Khan’s Islamabad residence. Security forces would also escort Khan whenever he leaves Islamabad for any part of the country, the ministry said.
In his speech at the rally in the city of Sialkot on Saturday, Khan did not elaborate on the alleged plot against him but claimed he had recorded a video message detailing it all.
Khan’s supporters have held rallies across the country since last month when he was ousted by the opposition through a no-confidence vote in the National Assembly. He was replaced by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
Sharif on Monday also ordered maximum security arrangements for Khan, according to a separate government statement.
Khan lost the grip on power after his party allies and a key coalition partner defected in early April. Since his ouster, he has demanded new elections, claiming Sharif’s government was imposed under an alleged U.S. plot. Washington has denied Khan’s conspiracy claims, and Sharif’s government has also dismissed them.
Pakistan has seen an uptick in militant attacks.
On Sunday, a suicide bomber struck near a vehicle belonging to the security forces in the country’s northwest, killing three soldiers and three children. Gunmen in the city of Peshawar killed two members of the minority Sikhs community. On Monday, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the rare attack on Sikhs.
Maryam dares Imran Khan to show proof of “assassination plot”
Meanwhile, Maryam Nawaz -- a top ruling party leader in Pakistan, has vowed that if Imran Khan showed proof of the alleged “assassination plot,” the Pakistan government would offer him more security cover than what is being currently provided to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Vice-President Maryam’s comments came after Khan claimed on Saturday that a “conspiracy” to assassinate him was being hatched in Pakistan and abroad, warning that if anything happens to him, the people will come to know about the perpetrators through a video message he has recently recorded and placed in a safe place.
Maryam, niece of Prime Minister Shehbaz, cast aspersions on Khan’s startling claims and asked him to release the video immediately so that appropriate measures could be taken.
“We will ensure provision of security to Imran even more than that of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif if he (Imran) produces the video in which he has recorded names of those who has made a plan to assassinate him,” Maryam said during a rally in Pakistan's Gujrat district’s Kotla on Sunday.
The senior PML-N leader accused the former premier of resorting to lies to remain relevant, and added that she would pray for Khan’s life so that he can see the progress made by Pakistan under the current dispensation.
“I am sure that the talk of video is yet another lie, and let me guarantee Imran that my father Nawaz Sharif has a big heart and he will ensure provision of security for you (Imran) more than what is being provided to our Prime Minister,” she claimed.
Separately, Imran Khan said no 'powerful killer' has ever been made accountable in the history of Pakistan.
(With inputs from AP)