Pakistan’s health minister claimed during a press conference on Friday that a medical test conducted on former Prime Minister Imran Khan found traces of alcohol and cocaine.
Health Minister Abdul Qader Patel claimed the traces in Khan’s urine sample were based on a medical report, Dawn, the largest English-language newspaper in Pakistan, reported on Saturday.
The tests were reportedly conducted on May 9 by the National Accountability Bureau shortly after the former cricketer and 22nd prime minister of the South Asian country was arrested on graft charges which he denies.
The health minister also disputed claims by Khan that the former 70-year-old prime minister had fractured his leg earlier in the year.
When asked about the confidentiality normally observed with medical documents, the minister said the report was public and declined questions around the ethics of revealing the information, according to the Dawn report.
Khan was the target of an attempted assassination by shooting in Wazirabad, Punjab in November 2022, during which a bullet entered Khan’s right leg and resulted in a fracture.
The latest medical fitness report supposedly claimed that Khan was not of sound mind, according to Patel. He said the former prime minister, who was ousted in a no-confidence vote in April 2022, appeared under stress and displayed signs of anxiety at the time the medical report was done.
A detailed version of the report has not been made available yet. Once the final version is ready, Patel is expected to pursue legal action against Khan, the founder and chief of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.
Khan’s PTI party issued a statement on social media calling the health minister’s conference matter “shameful” and said it would pursue legal action, including a charge of defamation for the minister’s comments and for discussing the medical report publicly.
The former prime minister has been involved in a number of political and legal disputes with the military since being removed from power in a parliamentary vote that he says was orchestrated by the country’s top generals. The military denies this.
Khan on Friday appealed for talks with state officials, as pressure increased on him amid a crackdown on his top aides and supporters that has seen thousands arrested as well as many leaving his party.
Pakistani authorities have placed Khan, his wife and dozens of party workers on a no-fly list, barring them from leaving the country.
The deepening political crisis is unfolding as Pakistan grapples with its worst economic distress in decades with default risks rising amid a stalled loan program with the International Monetary Fund.