At least 150 people including former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan and a few members of his former cabinet were booked after slogans were raised against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his delegation at Masjid-e-Nabwi in Saudi Arabia, officials said.
Video clips circulating on social media showed some pilgrims – apparently supporters of Khan shouting ‘chor’ (thief) and ‘gaddar’ (traitor) as soon as Sharif and other members of his delegation arrived at Medina last Thursday.
The Pakistani pilgrims also allegedly used abusive language against the delegation members. Madina police claim to have arrested five Pakistanis involved in the sloganeering.
Others who have been booked include former ministers Fawad Chaudhry, Sheikh Rasheed, former adviser to PM Shahbaz Gul and former national assembly deputy speaker Qasim Suri.
Punjab police on Saturday night registered an FIR against Khan, who is also the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.
Imran Khan, however, has distanced himself from the protesters who chanted slogans against Sharif, at a TV interview on Saturday.
Sharifs paid a woman to slander me: Khan
The development comes a day after Khan accused the Sharif family of allegedly sponsoring his ex-wife Reham Khan’s 2018 book against him to get an edge over him during the general elections that year. He hinted that the “mafia” may be planning a similar “character assassination” after Eid.
“They are the people who paid a woman to write a book against me in the 2018 elections. They will once again go for my character assassination after Eid. For them I have a message…I will fight against them as long as I am alive,” The Express Tribute quoted Khan as saying.
The former prime minister also accused his successor of letting the most number of encounters happen during his tenure as the chief minister of Punjab province.
He also alleged that it was the ‘Sharif mafia’ who was responsible for the hounding of his first wife Jemima Goldsmith who faced allegations of being a member of the Jewish lobby and had to battle court cases in Pakistan.
(With inputs from agencies)