‘We will give our lives to protect Imran Khan’

“I am prepared to give my life for Pakistan and for my leader,” said 22-year-old Abdullah Farid, speaking outside former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s home in Islamabad.
Mr Farid – who said he had been an Imran Khan supporter since 2011 – was one of dozens of loyalists camped on Monday outside Mr Khan’s hillside home in Bani Gala, a suburb about 30 minutes outside the capital.
Many of Mr Khan’s supporters have been there since Sunday night after authorities accused him of breaching the country’s anti-terrorism act for allegedly making threats against state officials. Earlier, Mr Khan had accused these state officials of detaining and torturing a close aide.
He has since been charged under the country’s anti-terror laws.
The accusations against him led to dozens of his supporters braving the scorching sun with the aim of keeping watch over him.
Many were flying his Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party flag, while others draped themselves in scarves in the party’s green and red colours.
The mood was calm but the crowd had a clear mission – they told me they wanted the charges against Mr Khan dropped, and some threatened civil unrest if the case continued further.
“We are not going to let them take our leader. He is the only one good for Pakistan, we are going to fight,” said a 34-year-old man, who would not give his name.
As he spoke, the men around him nodded in agreement. They believed Mr Khan was the target of political persecution.
The terrorism charges are related to a speech at the weekend where the former prime minister condemned a local police chief and a female judge for the detention and alleged torture of his close aide, Shehbaz Qill.
In the speech, Mr Khan said: “You should also get ready as we will take action against you,” referring to the pair directly. -BBC

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