The former Pakistani prime minister’s arrival at the court came after he made known via Twitter his fear of being arrested by security forces, who broke into his property in Lahore while he was on his way to court, in the capital of the country, as denounced by officials from his party.
After many legal wrangling, Imran Khan has arrived on the platform of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. This was confirmed by his legal adviser, Fawad Chaudhry, who said that once the appearance was officially registered by the court, Khan returned to his house in the city of Lahore.
The Election Commission court had previously issued arrest warrants for Khan, as he had failed to appear at previous hearings, despite court summons.
“I’m going to Islamabad court right now. I want to tell everyone that they have made a plan to arrest me“Khan said in a video message on his social media.
Earlier this week there was another major confrontation between supporters of the former prime minister and police outside Kahn’s home. At that time he promised, through a signed document, to attend this Saturday, March 18, before the authorities.
Without However, Khan’s trip to the capital triggered chaos, because according to media premises, the judge had to let the ex-premier sign from his vehicle outside the courtroom, in the judicial complex, due to the excesses that caused clashes between his supporters and the police.
On the Geo News station in the Pakistani capital, the police chief said that Khan’s supporters initially attacked the soldiers with gas bombs, and that for this reason the security forces responded with more tear gas.
“I am grateful to the masses that came when I went to my court appearance. Everyone knows that the ruling group of thieves has only one goal: to imprison me in any way until the elections are over,” he later wrote on Twitter.
Am grateful to masses that came when I went for my court appearance. Everyone knows ruling cabal of crooks has only one aim, to jail me any which way till elections are over. Already 96 cases on me & am sure after my appearance today I will hit my first century of court cases. pic.twitter.com/S9u9PHs1SQ
—Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) March 18, 2023
On the same social network, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif criticized Khan, accusing him of using his supporters as human shields to try to intimidate the country’s judiciary.
The magistrates requested that Khan attend court in person because of an order accusing him of illegally selling state gifts given to him by foreign dignitaries while he was in office from 2018 to 2022.
Earlier, officials from Khan’s political party reported that police had broken into the former premier’s luxurious Lahore home, breaking down the front door of the property, just as he was heading to court.
Khan condemned the police advance on Twitter and said his wife was on the property, meanwhile police were making arrests of several of his supporters on allegations they attacked officers during clashes earlier this week. 61 were arrested. On the other hand, the policemen denounced having been attacked with slingshots, gasoline bombs and iron bars.
The assault on my house today was first of all a contempt of court. We had agreed that an SP with one of our people would implement a search warrant bec we knew otherwise they would plant stuff on their own, which they did. Under what law did they break the gate, pull down trees pic.twitter.com/110uTeIlce
—Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) March 18, 2023
Accusations against the former prime minister
The 70-year-old former cricketer-turned-politician was ousted in a vote of no confidence last year, and has since sought to pressure the fragile coalition government that replaced him to hold early elections.
On November 3, 2022, Khan was shot in the leg during a political rally, in an assassination attempt he blamed on Prime Minister Sharif.
After the attack, without presenting evidence, he stated in an interview with France 24 that the death threat was still present. He argued that his political and military opponents want to prevent him from running in the elections at the end of the year. Accusations that the Army and Government did not answer.
One of the strategies to put pressure on the Sharif government has been to hold massive popular rallies and speeches almost daily in live broadcasts on social networks.
“It is now obvious that the entire siege of Lahore was not intended to secure my appearance in court in a case, but was intended to put me in prison so that I could not run our election campaign.“Khan said this Saturday, March 18.
Pakistani courts are often used to subject lawmakers to lengthy procedures that international rights watchers criticize for stifling political opposition.
And while all this political drama is taking place in just two or three cities, Pakistan is experiencing a complex economic situation on the brink of a recession, with year-on-year inflation reaching 31.5% in February, the highest rate since June 1974, according to official country reports.
Added to this are the risks of cessation of payments if you cannot obtain help from the International Monetary Fund, with whom you have had problems meeting the requirements to access loans and a situation of insecurity, which has increased through a series of deadly attacks on police, which have been linked to the Taliban in Pakistan.
With Reuters and local media.
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