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Khan Gathers Support Despite Arrest Warrants in Pakistan

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Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is currently facing arrest warrants in several cases, rallied thousands of supporters in Lahore on Monday.

Since his ouster last April in a vote of no confidence in parliament, Khan has routinely ignored arrest warrants and court summons in a series of cases against him, alleging a plot by the government of his successor, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, to discredit him. his campaign.

The former cricket star turned politician claimed his ouster was illegal and a plot by Sharif and Washington, who have denied the allegations.

Khan’s critics say the flaunting of the courts is a ploy to delay his trial on charges of terrorism, contempt of court and graft.

One of the warrants issued Monday was over accusations that Khan sold government gifts and hid assets while in office, and the other was related to his verbal threats against a judge during a rally last year.

The notes ask for Khan to be taken to court for hearings scheduled for March 18 and 29. However, it is not yet clear if the police will act on it.

The developments indicate that Sharif’s government is intensifying its pressure on Khan, who is currently campaigning for his party in the upcoming elections for two regional assemblies. Monday’s rally was held in the eastern city of Lahore, where Khan now lives.

Mohsin Ranjha, a lawyer for Sharif’s ruling Pakistan Muslim League party, said Imran Khan was deliberately failing to appear in the courts.

The opposition Tehreek-e-Insaf party said authorities had registered 80 “mock cases” against Khan for a political victory over the former prime minister, whose life is under threat. Fawad Chowdhury, a senior leader in the party, said Khan’s legal team would contest the memos.

Khan’s supporters threw rose petals at a convoy taking him to a Lahore rally, which has swelled to more than 5,000. Security was tight and hundreds of policemen were deployed in the city for Monday’s rally, which authorities allowed.

Last Wednesday, police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse supporters of Khan during a banned rally in Lahore. Dozens of his followers have been arrested for defying the ban.

Khan was attacked during a rally in November when a gunman shot him in the leg. One of Khan’s supporters was killed and 12 others injured in the attack, which drew nationwide condemnation.

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