Imran Khan: Former Pakistan leader noted presence in court as his supporters clashed with police
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan marked his presence at a highly anticipated court hearing on Saturday in the capital Islamabad, leaving after a scheduled trial.
Clashes broke out between Khan’s supporters and police in Islamabad when Khan attempted to infiltrate the capital’s High Court. Clashes also took place in the city of Lahore.
On Monday, an arrest warrant was issued for Khan, according to which he is due to appear in court on Saturday. After a week of clashes across the country, all warrants for Khan’s arrest were suspended on Friday after Khan promised to appear in court.
On Saturday, the city authorities introduced a procedure according to which any gathering of more than four people is considered illegal. Khan left the city of Lahore early Saturday morning to reach Islamabad by road. He traveled with a column of hundreds of supporters.
By the time of Khan’s turnout, a high-security judicial complex was set up on the outskirts of the capital, in the area of which hundreds of riot police were deployed. Islamabad police said on Twitter that upon arriving at the compound, Khan’s supporters began “throwing stones at the police”, to which the police responded with tear gas.
Khan showed up after five hours of waiting to enter the court complex.
In an audio message sent by Khan to reporters, Khan said he was “waiting outside [judicial complex’s] door” and “fully tried to get in”, but the use of tear gas by the police gives the impression that “they don’t want” him to go to court.
Separately, in the city of Lahore, the police raided the residence of Khan with bulldozers, removing the camps set up by supporters of Imran Khan. Interior Minister Rana Sanaulla told a news conference that the police operation at Khan’s house was to “clear out the no-go areas” and “arrest the criminals hiding inside.”
Khan’s team claimed that only Khan’s wife and the house’s staff were at the residence at the time of the raid.