Conflicts & War

Pakistan raids supporters guarding ex-PM’s house as he heads to court

Lahore, Pakistan, Mar 18 (EFE).- Even as former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan traveled to capital Islamabad on Saturday to appear before a court in a case related to gifts received during his term, the police launched an operation at his residence to remove camping protesters who had prevented his arrest and clashed with security forces repeatedly over the past week.

“Meanwhile Punjab police have led an assault on my house in Zaman Park,” Khan tweeted, soon after images shared by his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party showed him leaving for the court in a car surrounded by hundreds of supported as escorts.

Authorities were using teargas and water cannons to disperse the large crowd guarding the former prime minister’s residence in the eastern city of Lahore, according to images tweeted by PTI.

Khan is set to appear before the judiciary as a court-mandated reprieve from arrest expired on Saturday- after repeated attempts to arrest him had been thwarted by his supporters since Mar. 5 – and the leader could still be detained by authorities after his hearing.

Around 4,000 officers had been deployed in capital Islamabad to boost security during the leader’s hearing, the capital’s police tweeted.

On Tuesday, the main opposition party PTI had urged its supporters to take to the streets to protect Khan, which resulted in multiple clashes with the police until the operation was called off by the authorities late on Wednesday, with hundreds being injured in the violence.

Subsequently the Lahore High Court blocked police action against him until Friday.

Khan has been accused of keeping gifts received during his term without giving them to a government depository where the gifts from foreign dignitaries are kept.

Those willing to retain the gifts may do so by paying 50 percent of the value of the item assessed by the depository officials.

The leader has also been implicated in other cases, and has excused himself from appearing in court citing health problems and lack of security after he suffered gunshot wounds to both legs from an assassination attempt last November.

The former ruler was removed from office last year through a vote of no confidence, which Khan blamed on a United States move to expel him from power.

He later claimed that it was former Pakistani Army Chief Qamar Bajwa who conspired with the opposition to oust him. EFE


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