Pakistani police accuse former prime minister Imran Khan of terror
For hours on Saturday, Mr Khan’s followers clashed with police outside a courthouse where the former prime minister will appear in a bribery case. Riot police used batons and fired tear gas while Khan’s supporters hurled fire bombs and rocks at officers.
More than 50 officers were injured and a police checkpoint, several cars and motorbikes were set on fire. Police said 59 Khan supporters were arrested in the violence.
Khan never actually appeared inside the court to face charges that he sold state gifts received while in office and hid assets.
In addition to Khan, the lawsuit filed on Sunday also charges former and current lawmakers, former ministers, former Speakers of Parliament and numerous Khan supporters. The charges include terrorism, obstructing police officers from carrying out their duties, assaulting police officers, injuring police officers and threatening their lives.
It is the latest development regarding increased violence around Khan, 70, who was ousted in a vote of no confidence in Congress last April. Since then, the former cricket star turned Muslim politician has claimed – without providing evidence – that his overthrow was illegal and a plot by his successor government. Shahbaz SharifAnd Washington D.C. Both Sharif and the US have denied the allegations.
Also on Saturday, violence flared again outside Khan’s home in the eastern city of Lahore, where officers and Khan’s supporters clashed for two consecutive days earlier last week, after police to the high street to arrest Khan. Amid tear gas and clashes, police stormed Khan’s residence, later saying they had arrested 61 suspects and seized petrol bombs, weapons and ammunition. Khan was not at home, went to Islamabad to appear in court. After he failed to appear in court, the judge adjourned that hearing until March 30.
In a recorded video message broadcast on Sunday, Khan blamed police for his failure to appear in court on Saturday, saying he never left his vehicle when police sprayed gas tear at his convoy and supporters.
Without giving anything to back up his claims, Khan said his opponents wanted to put him in jail or kill him, denouncing the raid on his home in Lahore as “shameful tactics, plots and plans.”
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah accused Khan of “making up all sorts of plays just to avoid” the courts.