Imran Khan marks court presence as former Pakistan leader’s supporters clash with police
Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan marked his presence at a much-awaited court appearance on Saturday in the capital city of Islamabad, leaving after the scheduled proceedings.
Clashes between supporters of Khan and the police broke out in Islamabad as Khan attempted to enter the capital’s High Court. Clashes also broke out in the city of Lahore.
An arrest warrant for Khan was issued on Monday, requiring him to present before the court on Saturday. Following a week of clashes across the country, all arrest warrants against Khan had been suspended on Friday after Khan had made a commitment that he would appear in court.
On Saturday, capital authorities imposed an order that makes any gathering of more than four people an illegal offense. 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 judicial complex had been assigned 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 arrival at the complex, Khan’s supporters began to “pelt the police with stones,” and police responded with tear gas.
Khan made his appearance after waiting five hours to enter the judicial complex.
In an audio message sent by Khan to journalists, Khan said that he had been “waiting outside the [judicial complex’s] door” and had been “fully trying to enter” but the police’s use of teargas makes it seems that “they don’t want” him to reach court.
Separately in the city of Lahore, Khan’s residence was raided by the police with bulldozers removing camps that had been set up by Imran Khan’s supporters. The Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah said in a press conference that the police operation at Khan’s home was conducted to “clear no-go areas” and to “arrest miscreants hiding inside.”
Khan’s team claimed that only Khan’s wife and house staff were present inside the residence when the raid took place.