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18 Mar, 2023 14:06

Police raid former Pakistani PM’s home

The operation occurred as Imran Khan was on his way to court to face charges of illegally selling state gifts

Pakistani police officers stormed the home of former Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday as he was travelling to the capital, Islamabad, to appear in court in a corruption case. The raid became violent as law enforcement clashed with Khan’s supporters.

Footage shared on social media shows officers breaking the main gate at the ex-PM’s residence in Lahore. A video published by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party on Twitter appears to show police brutally beating supporters with sticks and batons.

Pakistani officials say 30 people were arrested during the raid, as they moved to clear a blockade set up by Khan’s supporters near his house. The officer in charge of the operation claimed that activists had resisted by throwing stones and Molotov cocktails.

“Punjab police have led an assault on my house in Zaman Park where Bushra Begum is alone. Under what law are they doing this?” Khan tweeted, referring to his wife, who was in the home at the time.

He also claimed that the raid was not to ensure that he would appear in court, “but was intended to take me away to prison so that I am unable to lead our election campaign.”

The operation follows several days of clashes with Khan’s supporters around the perimeter of his compound, as police attempted to arrest the beleaguered politician for not appearing in court. However, the arrest warrant was later suspended by the Pakistani High Court.

In a tweet on Saturday, Khan claimed that the government intended to arrest him. He added that “despite knowing their malafide intentions, I am proceeding to Islamabad and the court because I believe in rule of law.”

Khan became prime minister in 2018 and was ousted in a 2022 non-confidence vote. He is presently embroiled in dozens of legal disputes. Among other charges, he is accused of illegally selling state gifts, valued at around $2 million, that were given to him by foreign dignitaries while he was in office. He has denied the allegations, claiming they are politically motivated.