Dhe police stormed the home of former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Saturday, looking for weapons. Supporters of the politician and former cricket star, who was deposed in 2022, shot at the officers from the roof, the police said. Khan was not in the house at the time, but on his way to the capital, Islamabad, for a court hearing. At least 65 Khan supporters have been arrested, Punjab provincial police chief Usman Anwar said.
Police had had a search warrant from a local court after reports of guns in the house, said Punjab provincial information minister Amir Mir. The 70-year-old Khan had previously holed himself up in the house for about a week to avoid arrest. There were clashes between the police, who wanted to enforce an arrest warrant, and supporters of the politician.
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. He repeatedly ignored requests to appear in court. He justified this by saying that there were threats against him.
The court date in Islamabad took place under the highest security precautions. He expects to be arrested, Khan said in a video message on the way to court. He reiterated that the corruption case against him was politically motivated in order to deter him from a possible candidacy in the upcoming elections in October. The electoral commission accuses Khan of having kept government gifts from his time as prime minister for himself. He is said to have sold some and embezzled the profit.
Around 4,000 police officers and other security forces were deployed in and around Islamabad after Khan supporters had violent clashes with the police a few days ago. Hospitals were put on high alert.
In April 2022, Khan was removed as prime minister after almost four years in office by a vote of no confidence. The opposition accused him of mismanagement in 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 demonstration in November.
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