Supporters of Former Pakistani PM Khan Continue Clashing With Police

Clashes between Pakistani police and supporters of former PM Imran Khan continued outside Khan’s house in the East Pakistani city of Lahore, Wednesday (15/3), a day after police arrived to arrest him for failing to appear in court in a corruption case.

Over the 18-hour period through Wednesday, police fired tear gas at the 70-year-old opposition leader’s house while his supporters threw stones and bricks at officers. Both sides reported injuries.

“I have been here since last night to support (Imran) Khan, and I will be here for one, two, three or many more days for him if necessary. It was very difficult for me to speak (because there was tear gas fired). My only message to them (police) is, they can come, and I will see how they will catch him,” said Zahid Ahmed, a Khan supporter.

Supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan carrying sticks gather outside Khan's house to prevent officers from arresting him, in Lahore on March 14, 2023. (Photo: AFP/Arif Ali)

Supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan carrying sticks gather outside Khan’s house to prevent officers from arresting him, in Lahore on March 14, 2023. (Photo: AFP/Arif Ali)

The government sent in additional police to deal with the situation after hundreds of Khan’s supporters showed unexpected tenacity.

On Wednesday morning, Khan came out of his house saying he was ready to travel to Islamabad on Saturday (18/3) based on a warrant for his arrest, but police did not accept the offer. The confrontation outside Khan’s house continues.

Khan, who was ousted in a no-confidence motion in parliament in April, was ordered to appear before a judge in Islamabad on Friday to respond to allegations of illegally selling state gifts he received while prime minister and hiding his assets.

The former prime minister has avoided appearing in court since November, when he was injured in a shooting attack at a protest in East Pakistan’s Punjab province. At the time he said it was unfit for him to travel from Lahore to Islamabad to face charges.

The police operation sparked clashes between Khan’s supporters and police in major Pakistani cities, including Karachi, Islamabad, the garrison city of Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Quetta and various other parts of Pakistan. [uh/ab]

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