While international interest in the ever-changing political landscape of Pakistan has been piqued ever since the former prime minister alleged that he was removed from office on the basis of a US-backed conspiracy, a renowned British singer-songwriter and Muslim icon has come out in support of his long-time associate, Imran Khan.
Yusuf Islam, or the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens — who converted to Islam in 1977 – questioned the judiciary in his tweets on Tuesday over the sedition case, possibly against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief’s close aide Shahbaz Gill, and a ban on airing live speeches of Imran Khan, reports Dawn.
“What’s happening in #Pakistan? Do judges still have a say are they being muffled? Their voices are vital to the health of a nation. Telling the truth is not sedition: using the law as a political stick to beat down lawful criticism is the work of rogues, not the work of judges,” tweeted Mr Islam.
He said the floods that have wrecked “over 60,000 homes across Pakistan, washing away roads and bridges” should be the “number one priority” at this time. “This is what the army and government should be focused on — not gagging politicians for publicly exposing possible anti-human rights policies,” he added.
Although he did not name Mr Khan in his tweets, Mr Stevens has apparently had a years-long association with Mr Khan. The singer has attended campaigns for Shaukat Khanum hospital in the mid ’90s and also found a mention in the former premier’s book ‘Pakistan: A Personal History’.
His comments come at a time when the electronic media regulator has banned airing the PTI chief’s live speeches on TV after Mr Khan hit out at state institutions in his public gathering on Aug 20 to express solidarity with his chief of staff Shahbaz Gill.