The raid took place as Imran Khan was on the way to court to face charges of illegally selling state gifts
Pakistani police officers stormed the home of former Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday as he was on the way to the capital, Islamabad to appear in court in a corruption case. The raid turned violent as police clashed with Khan’s supporters.
Footage shared on social media shows officers breaking the main gate at the ex-PM’s residence in Lahore in the country’s east. Another clip released by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party on Twitter appears to show police brutally beating supporters with sticks and batons.
Worst kind of torture in Zaman Park right now. If something happens, will you paint it as accident again!? #چلو_چلو_عمران_کے_ساتھ pic.twitter.com/5S45UDVvMZ
— PTI (@PTIofficial) March 18, 2023
Pakistani officials say 30 people were arrested during the raid, as they moved to clear the blockade set up by Khan’s supporters near his house. Suhail Sukhera, the officer in charge of the operation, said that activists resisted by throwing stones and Molotov cocktails.
“Punjab police have led an assault on my house in Zaman Park where Bushra Begum is alone. Under what law are they doing this?” the former prime minister tweeted, referring to his wife.
He also claimed that the raid was conducted, not to ensure that he would appear in court, “but was intended to take me away to prison so that I am unable to lead our election campaign.”
READ MORE: Pakistani High Court suspends arrest warrant for former PM
The raid came after several days of clashes with Khan’s supporters around the house, as police attempted to arrest the beleaguered politician for not showing up in court. Later, however, the arrest warrant was suspended by the Pakistani High Court.
In a tweet on Saturday, Khan claimed that the government intended to arrest him. He added that “despite knowing their malafide intentions, I am proceeding to Islamabad and the court because I believe in rule of law.”
Khan, who became prime minister in 2018, was ousted in 2022 in a non-confidence vote and is embroiled in dozens of legal disputes. Among other things, he is accused of illegally selling state gifts valued at around $2 million that were given to him by foreign dignitaries while he was in office. He has denied the allegations, claiming they are politically motivated.
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