Pakistani police and supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan continue to clash as he remains locked up at his Lahore mansion before he can be arrested.
Last October, Imran Khan, 70, was found guilty by the Election Commission of Pakistan of illegally selling gifts to foreign dignitaries. Charges were brought against the cricketer-turned-politician in an anti-corruption court last week. A warrant for his arrest was issued after Mr Khan ignored the summons.
Under Pakistani law governing Islamabad’s “Toshakhana” – which means “treasury” in Persian – politicians can keep official state gifts by paying a certain percentage of the value for the government. Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party said his residence was under “extreme attack” and called for support. “Special Forces and Police opened fire. Zaman Park is under intense attack!! Everyone must come ASAP!!!” PTI tweeted.
Pakistani police used water cannon and tear gas to repel hundreds of Khan’s supporters who had gathered outside his house to prevent his arrest on Tuesday. An activist in Mr Khan’s party was killed in clashes with police. Mr Khan has accused the Pakistani government of conspiring to arrest him as part of the “London plan” to end all charges against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. “It’s part of London’s plan and an agreement was signed there to put Imran in jail, bring down PTI and end all charges against Nawaz Sharif,” Mr Khan said in a video message.
This is the second time in recent weeks that police have been dispatched from Islamabad to serve an arrest warrant for Mr Khan after he ignored several court summons.
As chaos ensued outside his residence, Mr Khan posted a video message. shown:
“The police came to arrest me. They think that if Imran Khan goes to jail, everyone will go to sleep. You have to prove them wrong, you have to prove that the qaum (people) are still alive.”
“You have to fight for your rights, you have to take to the streets. God gave Imran Khan everything. I am fighting for your fight. I have fought my whole life and I will continue to do so. But if anything happens to me, whether they put me in jail or kill me, you have to prove that you can fight even without Imran Khan. You must prove that you will never accept slavery and this one man’s rule. Pakistan zindabad,” he added.
On Monday, Lahore Police charged Mr Khan in a case related to the murder of PTI worker – Ali Bilal alias Zille Shah – in a traffic accident. Earlier, Lahore police registered the FIR against Mr Khan and 400 others for the murder of Shah. Mr Khan is ready to post bail that he will appear in court on Saturday, he said in a video shared on his official social media channels.