30 People Arrested in Raid of Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Home
On Saturday, the Pakistani police stormed the property of former Prime Minister Imran Khan in Lahore, and arrested 30 people amidst tear gas bombardment, as he arrived in the capital, Islamabad, to appear in court.
Senior police officer Sohail Sakhira, who is leading the operation in an upscale neighborhood of Lahore, said the police moved to remove the encroachments and blockade set up by Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party and his defiant supporters.
Khan’s supporters wielding batons, he said, tried to resist the police by throwing stones and petrol bombs, but the officers advanced until a man on Khan’s rooftop opened fire. No one is hurt.
Sakhira said that police opened the main door of Khan’s house and found masks, bottles of petrol, iron bars, and batons used in attacks on police during the week. Skhera said illegal buildings had been constructed inside the sprawling residence to house those involved in attacks on the police that left dozens of officers injured.
Witnesses said police tried to disperse Khan’s supporters by firing tear gas and chased them to several houses in the upscale Zaman Park neighborhood. Khan was expected to appear in court in Islamabad on Saturday after a high court on Friday suspended his arrest warrant, granting him reprieve to travel to Islamabad and face charges in a corruption case without being arrested.
Khan had been hiding in his home in Lahore since Tuesday, after he failed to appear at an earlier hearing in the case. His supporters threw stones and clashed with police, who used batons, for two days to protect the former prime minister from arrest.
Khan, during his road trip to Islamabad, said in a video message that the government planned to arrest him even though he had traveled to attend a hearing. He said that the police raided his home in Lahore while his wife was home alone. He condemned the act and demanded that those responsible be punished according to the law.
Khan, who is now in opposition, was ousted in a vote of no confidence in parliament last April. He is accused of selling state gifts while in office and concealing assets. It is one of a series of cases the former cricket star turned Islamist politician has faced since his ouster.
The 70-year-old opposition leader also alleged that his removal from power was part of a plot by his successor, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, and the United States. Both Washington and the Sharif government denied the allegations.
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