Imran Khan: Former Pakistani leader marks court attendance as supporters clash with police
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan marked his attendance at a much-anticipated court appearance on Saturday in the capital Islamabad, leaving after scheduled proceedings.
Clashes between Khan’s supporters and police erupted in Islamabad as Khan attempted to enter the capital’s High Court. Clashes also broke out in the city of Lahore.
A warrant for Khan’s arrest was issued on Monday, requiring him to appear in court on Saturday. After a week of clashes across the country, all arrest warrants for Khan were suspended on Friday after Khan pledged to appear in court.
On Saturday, authorities in the capital imposed an order that makes any gathering of more than four people an illegal offence. Khan left the city of Lahore early Saturday morning to reach Islamabad by road. He traveled with a convoy of hundreds of supporters.
A high-security court complex had been designated for Khan’s appearance on the outskirts of the capital, with hundreds of riot police deployed in the area. Islamabad Police said in a tweet that upon arriving at the compound, Khan’s supporters began “throwing stones at the police”, and the police responded with tear gas.
Khan appeared after waiting five hours to enter the court complex.
In an audio message sent by Khan to reporters, Khan said he had “waited outside the door (of the court complex)” and had “totally tried to get in”, but the use of tear gas by the police gives the impression that “they don’t”. want” him to reach the court.
Separately in the city of Lahore, Khan’s residence was raided by police with bulldozers removing camps that had been set up by Imran Khan’s supporters. Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told a press conference that the police operation at Khan’s home was carried out to “clear the forbidden areas” and to “arrest the disbelievers who were hiding inside interior”.
Khan’s team claimed that only Khan’s wife and household staff were present inside the residence when the raid took place.