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Raising the arrest warrant against former Pakistani Prime Minister Khan

Raising the arrest warrant against former Pakistani Prime Minister Khan

Supporters of the politician who was ousted in 2022 fired at officials from the roof. Khan was in his car at the time on his way to his court date.

The arrest warrant for former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has been lifted. The 70-year-old, who faces corruption charges, appeared in a court in Islamabad on Saturday. One of his lawyers said that the court canceled the arrest warrant and postponed the hearing until March 30. Khan describes the allegations as politically motivated. Thousands of supporters clashed with police in front of the courthouse.

After days of legal wrangling, Khan traveled more than 300 km from Lahore in eastern Pakistan to the capital, Islamabad. 4,000 of Khan’s supporters gathered in front of the court. Some of them attacked the police with stones. Security forces used tear gas against the demonstrators.

Violent clashes with the police

The former prime minister was unable to get out of the car due to the collisions. Khan’s lawyers said the court nevertheless admitted his presence. An arrest warrant was issued for Khan for failing to follow summons to attend a court hearing in Islamabad. Instead, he retired to his residence in Lahore. When the police tried to arrest Khan there, serious clashes broke out with his supporters. The arrest warrant was then suspended on Friday, in return for the former cricket star’s agreement to appear in court.

Khan said in a video message on his way to court on Saturday that he expected to be arrested. He reiterated that the corruption case against him was politically motivated to deter him from a potential candidacy in the upcoming elections in October. About 4,000 police officers and other security forces have been deployed in and around Islamabad due to expected protests by Ansar Khan. Hospitals have been put on high alert.

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Raid Khan’s apartment building

Meanwhile, the police raided Khan’s house in the city of Lahore. Police said supporters of the politician and former cricket star, who was ousted in 2022, fired at the officers from the roof. Punjab provincial police chief Usman Anwar said at least 65 of Khan’s supporters had been arrested.

Punjab’s information minister, Amir Mir, said the police had obtained a search warrant from a local court after reports of guns in the house. Khan, 70, had barricaded himself in the house for about a week to avoid arrest. Clashes took place between the police, who wanted to execute the arrest warrant, and supporters of the former prime minister.

Always new allegations

Since his ouster, the Pakistani judiciary has brought new charges against Khan. He now has to stand trial in court in more than 80 cases – including corruption, money laundering and contempt of judge. He repeatedly ignored requests to appear in court. He justified this by saying that there were threats against him.

In April 2022, a vote of no confidence removed Khan as Prime Minister after nearly four years in office. The opposition accused him of mismanaging the economy. In recent months, Khan has repeatedly called for mass protests and new elections in the country. He was shot in the leg by an assassin during a protest in November.

(APA/DBA)