This Article is From Mar 14, 2023

Street Battle As Pak Cops Try To Arrest Imran Khan, Supporters Block Them

The police are using armoured vehicles fitted with water cannons amid stone-throwing by supporters of former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is accused of corruption

Imran Khan's supporters outside his Lahore home (AFP)

New Delhi/Lahore:

The supporters of former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan have blocked policemen from reaching his home in Lahore to arrest him. The police are using armoured vehicles fitted with water cannons amid stone-throwing by supporters of the former Prime Minister who is accused of corruption.

Hundreds of Mr Khan's supporters gathered outside his house after a police team arrived from Islamabad to arrest him on a court order, government spokesman Amir Mir told news agency Reuters.

Mr Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers started the violence, which injured several police officials, he said, adding, "If Imran Khan ensures his presence in the court, it will be good, otherwise the law will take its course."

Amid the protest, Mr Khan released a video statement, asking people to fight for their rights even if he is jailed or killed. "The police have arrived to arrest me. They think that if Imran Khan goes to jail, the people will go to sleep. You have to prove them wrong. You have to prove that the qaum (people) is alive," Mr Khan said.

"We have come here just for the compliance of the court order," Deputy Inspector General of Police Syed Shahzad Nadeem told reporters.

The PTI workers started throwing stones and bricks at the police, and in response the police directed water-cannon at them and in some cases baton charged them, he said.

Live TV footage showed the supporters also using sling-shots and attacking the police with sticks.

Pakistan's election commission in October last year found the 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician guilty of unlawfully selling gifts from foreign dignitaries.

The Federal Investigation Agency then filed charges against him in an anti-corruption court, which last week issued the arrest warrant after Mr Khan failed to appear in court despite repeated summons.

Mr Khan has been demanding a snap election since his ouster from office in a parliamentary vote early last year, a demand that was rejected by his successor Shehbaz Sharif, who has said the vote would be held as scheduled later this year.

With inputs from Reuters