Imran Khan: Clashes in Pakistan as police try to arrest former Prime Minister Imran Khan
Former Pakistan supporters Prime Minister Imran Khan clashed with police trying to arrest him outside his home on Tuesday, even though the longtime politician told CNN he was “mentally ready to spend the night in a cell.”
“I need a proper arrest warrant and I want to see that, my lawyers want to see a warrant,” he told CNN. He also said he believes his arrest is imminent and politically motivated, referring to the upcoming by-election in April and the general election in October.
“It’s a matter of time. I’m convinced that they will come and arrest me, I’m ready for it,” he said, adding: “I know what the intention is. They want to take me out of the race. They want to take me out of the match to win.” elections”.
Khan faces accusations of illegally buying and selling gifts given to him by foreign dignitaries during his tenure, which he dismissed as “biased”.
On Monday, Islamabad’s Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant for Khan in the case, to be brought before the court on March 18.
“By order of the court, the person who escaped from the court will be arrested and taken there,” Pakistani Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah wrote on Tuesday.
But Khan’s lawyers argue that he previously did not appear in court because he cannot leave his residence in Lahore for security reasons. According to his lawyers, he can only appear via video link.
In an interview with CNN, the former leader warned that attempts to arrest him could lead to a dangerous escalation of political violence in the country, and that he believes Pakistan’s ruling coalition could end up using “this pretext of violence” to delay upcoming elections.
In a statement to CNN, the country’s information minister denied any political involvement in the case. “The government has nothing to do with (Khan’s) arrest, and the arrest has nothing to do with the elections. The police only follow the orders of the court,” said Marriyum Aurangzeb.
“Instead of cooperating with law enforcement officials, Imran Khan breaks the law, ignores court orders and uses his party workers as human shields to avoid arrest and foment unrest,” she added.
Protests erupted in Pakistan’s major cities in support of Khan, who posted a video on social media asking his followers to “come out” in support of his movement if he is detained.
Local media and footage provided by Khan’s Party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) officials show police using water cannons and tear gas against Khan’s supporters.
Islamabad police said on Twitter that four police officers were injured after they were stoned by Khan’s supporters.
Khan was elected prime minister in a vote of no confidence in April. He has since led a popular campaign against the current government, accusing it of conspiring with the military to remove him from office.
“[The government]they are petrified that if I come to power, I will hold them accountable,” he told CNN on Tuesday.
“They also know that even if I go to jail, we will change the election no matter what they do,” he added.
Khan was arrested only once in 2007 by then-president and military ruler Pervez Musharraf. who died before year.
The current political turmoil comes at a time when the Pakistani government is waiting for delayed bailouts from the International Monetary Fund to help the country deal with a cost-of-living crisis and a ailing economy.