Clashes erupt after Pakistan police arrive to arrest ex-PM Khan
Islamabad, Mar 14 (EFE).- Dozens of Pakistan police personnel reached the residence of former prime minister Imran Khan on Tuesday to arrest the embattled politician, sparking clashes with hundreds of his supporters in eastern Lahore city.
Khan is accused of illegally selling state gifts from foreign dignitaries and of failing to declare them to the electoral commission among his assets.
TV footage showed police using water cannons to disperse Khan’s stone-pelting supporters.
Police managed to reach the residence, taking refuge behind armored vehicles.
Local media reported that at least 10 supporters of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf were arrested.
The police warned people on public address systems not to prevent them from performing legal obligations.
In a video message apparently recorded inside his residence, Khan Khan told his supporters to be ready to continue the struggle in his absence.
“The police have arrived to arrest me. They believe that if Imran Khan is imprisoned, the country will slumber. You must prove them wrong. You must demonstrate that we are an alive nation,” Khan said in a brief but fiery speech.
“If anything happens to me, such as being imprisoned or even murdered, you must demonstrate that you will continue to fight to end the worst servitude of these crooks and the one person who has been making choices for the country.”
As clashes broke out, ruling Pakistan Muslim League chief Maryam Nawaz warned that Khan would be responsible if any police officer suffered harm.
“The sons of the nation are not priceless, they are doing their duty,” she tweeted.
The opposition PTI urged its supporters to reach Khan’s residence and resist the police attempt to arrest him.
“All workers and supporters reach Zaman Park as soon as possible and stay calm,” the PTI said.
Khan’s lawyers moved the Islamabad High Court to seek bail.
“Imran Khan’s arrest warrant has been challenged in the Tosha Khana case in the Islamabad High Court,” PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry said.
The development came a day after an Islamabad district and sessions court again issued arrest warrants for Khan after he continuously skipped hearings in the case.
The court had also directed police to present the ex-prime minister in the court by Mar.18.
The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician has skipped several indictment hearings while recovering from bullet wounds sustained in an assassination attempt last year.
Khan was ousted from office in a no-confidence vote in April last year.
He has accused the country’s all-powerful military of helping the then-opposition to remove him from power. EFE