Pakistani police storm home of Imran Khan and arrest 61 amid tear gas
Khan had been holed up at his home in Lahore since Tuesday after failing to appear at an earlier hearing in the case. His supporters hurled rocks and clashed with baton-wielding police for two days to protect the former premier from arrest.
Khan’s motorcade arrived on Saturday near the federal judicial complex in Islamabad, where his supporters also clashed with police who prevented them from entering the complex. The enraged Khan supporters threw rocks at police who responded by lobbing tear gas canisters to disperse them. Sanaullah said many of Khan’s supporters were armed.
Khan’s attorney, Babar Awan, filed an application for Khan’s exemption from appearance in court amid special circumstances.
Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar condemned Khan for not turning himself over to police and not appearing in court on Saturday despite arriving at the judicial complex gate. He accused Khan of using his protesting supporters to avoid indictment.
Khan’s supporters set two police vehicles and several motorcycles outside the judicial complex on fire while dispersing, according to Tarar.
Khan, during his road trip to Islamabad, said in a video message that police had broken into his residence in Lahore while his wife was alone at the home. He condemned the action and demanded that those responsible be punished.
Khan’s PTI party secretary-general, Asad Umar, in a letter to Pakistan’s chief justice noted that police waited until Khan was en route to Islamabad to storm his Lahore residence. He said the “doors and walls have been razed to the ground” and more than 40 people at the home were arrested.
Khan, now the opposition leader, was ousted in a no-confidence vote in parliament last April. He is accused of selling state gifts while in office and concealing assets, charges he denies. It’s one in a string of cases that the former cricket star turned Islamist politician has been facing since his ouster.
The 70-year-old Khan, who has called for early elections in parliament, has claimed that his removal from power was part of a conspiracy by his successor, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, and the United States. Both Washington and Sharif’s government have denied the allegation.
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