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Pakistan ups security for ex-Prime Minister over deadly plot claims

ISLAMABAD (AP) – Pakistan beefed up security around former Prime Minister Imran Khan yesterday, 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 yesterday 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 United States (US) 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.