Pakistan: Police storm ex-PM Khan’s home

Status: 03/18/2023 1:20 p.m

Pakistan’s former prime minister Khan appeared in court today after a week of resistance marked by violent riots. At the same time, police raided his home in Lahore, alleging that he was in possession of weapons.

In the Pakistani metropolis of Lahore, the police stormed the home of former Prime Minister Imran Khan to search for weapons. Khan himself was not there because he was on his way to a court hearing in the capital, Islamabad. The politician’s supporters shot at the officers from the roof of the house, the police said. At least 65 supporters were arrested, Punjab provincial police chief Usman Anwar said.

Khan complied with the court summons despite fears of imprisonment. The court had previously assured him that he would be protected from arrest if he came to the hearing. There were also clashes between police and Khan’s supporters outside the courthouse in Islamabad.

After four years in office, Khan was deposed as prime minister in 2022.


Shot at a rally

“The ruling party Pakistan Democratic Movement wants to have me arrested,” former cricket star Khan told Reuters news agency before the hearing. “Even though I know their malicious intentions, I am going to Islamabad and to court because I believe in the rule of law,” the 70-year-old tweeted.

Khan was ousted by a vote of no confidence in April 2022 after almost four years as prime minister. The opposition accused him of mismanagement. Since then he has been fighting for new elections and repeatedly calls for mass protests. He was shot in the leg at a rally in November. Khan accuses the incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and a high-ranking military officer of ordering his assassination. Both deny the accusation.

Allegations of corruption and money laundering

Since his ouster, the Pakistani judiciary has brought new allegations against Khan. He now has to answer in court in more than 80 cases – including corruption, money laundering and insulting a judge. Among other things, he is accused of keeping state gifts during his time as Prime Minister, selling some of them and embezzling the profit. He repeatedly ignored requests to appear in court. He justified this by saying that there were threats against him.

For the house search, the police had a search warrant from a local court, said Amir Mir, Punjab provincial information minister. Previously there had been reports of guns in the house.

Last Tuesday, the police wanted to arrest Khan in his hometown of Lahore over the allegations, but failed due to resistance from his supporters. Riots and street battles ensued. Khan had been holed up in his home for about a week. The arrest warrant was suspended yesterday to allow him to appear in court.

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