Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan faces court in fear of arrest

ISLAMABAD, March 18 (Reuters) – Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan appeared in court on Saturday after expressing fears of arrest in a dispute with the government that has led to intense clashes with his supporters.

Police went to Khan’s home in the city of Lahore as he left for his trial in the capital, Islamabad.

Khan, who served from 2018 to 2022, faces several legal challenges, including one that led to a failed attempt to arrest him on Tuesday.

He was scheduled to face charges in court on Saturday for illegally selling state gifts given to him by foreign dignitaries while in office.

Khan says he followed legal procedures in procuring the gifts.

Khan, 70, arrived in the capital on Saturday afternoon and was on his way to the pitch on the motor track surrounded by supporters.

Islamabad’s police chief told local broadcaster Geo News that Khan’s supporters had attacked police near the court and fired tear gas, prompting police to fire more tear gas back.

Khan has led nationwide protests since he was ousted from power last year, and several cases have been registered against him.

Punjab provincial police chief Usman Anwar told a media conference in Lahore that police went to Khan’s house on Saturday to abduct people who had been involved in previous clashes with police and arrested 61 people, including throwing petrol bombs.

Earlier this week, police and Khan’s supporters clashed outside his home during an attempt to arrest him.

Hours before leaving his home, the former cricket star told Reuters he had formed a committee to lead his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party if he is arrested.

Khan, who was shot and wounded while campaigning in November, said in an interview that the threat to his life is greater than before and claimed – without providing evidence – that his political opponents and the military want to prevent him from running in elections later this year. .

The army and government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s government has denied being behind the cases against Khan. The military – which plays a major role in Pakistan, having ruled the country for almost half of its 75-year history – has said it is neutral on politics.


The court has earlier issued an arrest warrant to Khan in the case as he had failed to appear for earlier hearings despite summonses.

He assured that he would appear on Saturday and the court granted Khan protection from arrest, but he said he feared that the police and the government were planning to arrest him.

“It is now clear that despite being granted bail in all my cases, the (Coalition of Pakistan Democratic Movement) government is going to arrest me. Even though I know of their malicious intentions, I will proceed to Islamabad and believe that in court. according to the rule of law,” Khan said on Twitter.

“It is also now evident that the whole siege of Lahore was not to ensure that I come to justice in the case, but to put me in jail so that I cannot lead our election campaign.”

Pakistan’s information minister said this week that the government had nothing to do with the police’s actions and that the police were following court orders.

The case to be heard on Saturday concerns allegations that Khan sold luxury watches and other items handed over to the state while he was prime minister.


During Tuesday’s arrest attempt, hundreds of supporters prevented the police from entering the premises. Officials said they came under attack on Tuesday with petrol bombs, iron mines and slingshots.

Many of the supporters stayed back to guard Khan’s home when he left for Islamabad on Saturday.

Punjab provincial information minister Amir Mir told Reuters that police had arrived outside Khan’s house on Saturday again to gather evidence of attacks on police and wanted persons in separate cases.

“When the police arrived, the PTI activists tried to stop them by throwing stones and baton attacks. In retaliation, the police arrested many of them. The police had already informed the PTI leadership about the evidence collection process,” Mir said.

Khan’s party shared footage with reporters that appeared to show police in the garden of his Lahore home beating his supporters with batons.

Khan said his wife was alone in the house at the time of the raid.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told Geo News that police found weapons outside Khan’s home. Sanaullah said law enforcement officials did not enter the residence, but remained in the garden and driveway.

He said police had a search warrant for the search.

Reporting by Akhtar Soomro in Islamabad, Ariba Shahid in Karachi and Mubasher Bukhari in Lahore Editing by William Mallard and Frances Kerry

Our standard: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Areba Shahid

Thomson Reuters

Ariba Shahid is a journalist based in Karachi, Pakistan. He mainly covers economic and financial news from Pakistan and Karachi-centric stories. Ariba has previously worked for DealStreetAsia and Profit Magazine.

Leave a Comment