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Pakistan: Former PM Imran Khan's Home Stormed by Police

Sat 18 Mar 2023 | 11:52 PM
Former PM Imran Khan
Former PM Imran Khan
Israa Farhan

Pakistani police stormed the home of former prime minister Imran Khan in the eastern city of Lahore on Saturday and arrested 61 people, officials said, amid tear gas and clashes between Khan's supporters and police.

Senior police officer Suhail Sukhera, who led the operation in an upscale neighborhood of Lahore, said police moved to remove a barricade erected by members of Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf party and his defiant supporters.

He added that they blocked the paths around Khan's residence with concrete blocks, cut down trees, tents, and a parked truck.

Khan was not home, having travelled to Islamabad to appear before a judge to face accusations that he sold government gifts while in office and hid his assets. The judge postponed the hearing to March 30.

According to Sakhira, Khan's supporters wielding batons tried to resist the police by throwing stones and Molotov cocktails and a man on Khan's rooftop opened fire. At least three police officers were injured.

Sukhera explained that police broke down the main door of Khan's house and found automatic weapons, Molotov cocktails, iron bars and batons used in attacks on police during the week. 

Inside the sprawling residence, Skhera said, illegal buildings were erected to house people involved in attacks on the police that left dozens of officers injured.

Khan had been hiding in his home in Lahore since Tuesday after he failed to appear at an earlier hearing in the case. His supporters threw stones and clashed with police, who used batons for two days to protect the former prime minister from arrest.

Khan, during his road trip to Islamabad, said in a video message that police raided his home in Lahore while his wife was home alone. He condemned the act and demanded that those responsible be punished.

Khan, now the leader of the opposition, was ousted in a vote of no confidence in parliament last April. He is accused of selling state gifts while in office and concealing assets, charges he denies. 

It is one of a series of cases the former cricket star turned Islamist politician has faced since his ouster.