A heavy contingent of police on Tuesday surrounded the residence of Pakistan’s ousted prime minister Imran Khan in Lahore as Islamabad police intended to arrest him in the Toshakhana case.
The police blocked all roads leading to the house of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman by placing containers and riot personnel took positions to launch the operation.
A large number of PTI workers equipped with clubs are also present outside the 70-year-old leader’s residence to resist the police action.
Senior PTI leader Farukh Habib told reporters that come what may Imran Khan would not surrender to police in fake cases. “The arrest warrants in the case related to threatening a female judge were today suspended by the Islamabad High Court. Let’s see what new warrants police have brought with them now,” Habib said.
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A senior police officer of Islamabad police said that his team has come here to arrest Khan in the Toshakhana case.
Clash between police and PTI workers seems imminent if the former press ahead to arrest Khan.
One activist of Khan’s party was killed on Wednesday during a crackdown on his supporters who gathered outside his residence in Lahore, defying a government ban on rallies in the city.
On Monday, the Lahore police had booked Khan in a case related to the killing of the PTI worker – Ali Bilal alias Zille Shah – in a road accident.
Earlier, the Lahore police had registered an FIR against Khan and 400 others for the murder of Shah. “The new FIR has been registered against Imran Khan, Fawad Chaudhry, Dr Yasmin Rashid and a number of other PTI men for abetment to murder, concealing facts and evidence related to the death of Zille Shah,” a senior police officer told PTI.
He said the police may arrest Khan and others nominated in the FIR after direction from the “top”. The PTI had accused the police of murder of Shah after inflicting brutal torture on March 8.
This is the 81th FIR against Khan since the PML-N led federal coalition came into power 11 months ago after toppling his government through a no-confidence motion.
Khan Monday led a march of thousands of his supporters, a day after he called off his party’s election rally following a ban on public gatherings in Punjab’s provincial capital.
The former cricketer-turned-politician’s supporters threw rose petals at a convoy carrying him to Data Darbar shrine.
Khan has been in the crosshairs for buying gifts, including an expensive Graff wristwatch he had received as the premier at a discounted price from the state depository called Toshakhana and selling them for profit.
Khan was ousted from power in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.
Since his ouster, Khan has been clamouring for immediate elections to oust what he termed was an “imported government” led by prime minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Sharif has maintained that elections will be held later this year once the parliament completes its five-year tenure.