A Pakistan High Court on Thursday ordered police to suspend an operation to arrest Imran Khan for another day, prompting an escalation of violence, with supporters of the former prime minister fighting with security forces.
Khan’s aide Fawad Chaudhry said the Lahore High Court had ordered a halt to the police operation till Friday. State Information Minister Amir Mir confirmed the court order.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, dozens of Khan’s supporters, armed with batons and slingshots, barricaded his home to prevent security forces from arresting him after he failed to appear in court in a case involving illegal government gifts. Was accused of selling. him when he was the prime minister. Khan denies the allegations.
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A court-ordered effort to arrest Khan, which began on Tuesday, triggered clashes between his supporters and security forces in his Lahore neighborhood, raising fears about the political stability of nuclear-armed Pakistan as It is facing financial crisis.
The violence, in which protesters torched police vehicles, a water-cannon truck and hundreds of cars and motorcycles and hurled petrol bombs at security forces while firing tear gas and rubber bullets, broke out after the High Court on Wednesday banned the police operation It’s over
A trial court in Islamabad had issued a warrant against Khan, a former international cricketer, for disobeying orders to appear in court after he accepted government gifts given to him by foreign dignitaries when he was prime minister from 2018 to 2022. sold illegally.
Khan denies the allegations. The National Election Commission found him guilty and barred Khan from holding public office for one parliamentary term.
Legal proceedings against Khan began after he was ousted from office in a parliamentary vote early last year. Since then, he has been calling for mid-term elections and holding nationwide protest rallies, and was shot and injured at one of these rallies. Current Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has rejected Khan’s demands, saying that elections will be scheduled for later this year.
(Writing by Asif Shahzad and Miral Fahmi; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)