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Imran Khan appears in court, his house searched

Updated on: 19 March,2023 07:52 AM IST  |  Islamabad
Agencies |

Police have allegedly recovered assault rifles and a cache of bullets from his residence

Imran Khan appears in court, his house searched

A convoy of former Prime Minister Imran Khan drives toward Islamabad at a road in Lahore on Saturday. Pic/AP

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan officially marked his presence in court in the country’s capital on Saturday, his aide said. He finally complied with judicial orders after a standoff with the police that has led to intense clashes with his supporters. Khan, in office from 2018 to 2022, is facing a spate of legal challenges, including one that prompted a failed attempt to arrest him on Tuesday, sparking clashes between supporters and police, which also took place on Saturday. Khan’s aide Fawad Chaudhry told media that the former premier’s presence had been recorded officially by the court and he had left to return to his home in the city of Lahore. 

According to local media, Imran Khan’s vehicle reached the judicial complex in Islamabad amidst clashes between police and his supporters. They reported that, given the chaos around the complex, he was unable to physically enter the courtroom, and was ultimately allowed by the judge to sign his presence from his vehicle. He was ordered to address charges in court on Saturday of unlawfully selling state gifts given to him by foreign dignitaries while in office.

Riot police enter the residence of Khan in Lahore. Pic/AFP
Riot police enter the residence of Khan in Lahore. Pic/AFP

Khan says he followed legal procedures in acquiring the gifts. Earlier in the day, the police had entered Khan’s home in Lahore after he left for his court appearance in Islamabad and arrested several of his supporters over allegations of attacks against officers during clashes earlier in the week. Another Khan aide, Shireen Mazari, said police had broken down the front gate of Khan’s home. In Islamabad, the police chief told local broadcasters that Khan’s supporters had attacked police near the court and fired teargas shells, prompting police to fire more teargas back. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took to Twitter to criticise Khan, saying he was using people as human shields and was attempting to intimidate the judiciary.

Also read: Pakistan Police arrive at former PM Imran Khan's Lahore residence to arrest him

Khan has led nationwide protests since his ouster from power last year and has had a spate of cases registered against him. Earlier this week, police and Khan’s supporters clashed outside his home during the arrest attempt. Khan, who was shot and wounded while campaigning in November, said that the threat to his life is greater than before and asserted—without providing evidence—that his political opponents and the military want to block him from standing in elections later this year. 

Police have left Khan’s Zaman Park residence after allegedly recovering assault rifles and a cache of bullets and detaining over 60 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers accused of resorting to violence to hinder the law, agencies reported. The police action came hours after Khan hit the road to appear in the Toshakhana case hearing in Islamabad on Saturday.

Addressing a press conference, Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Anwar said police had completed the search and cleanup operation in Zaman Park and seized AK-47 assault rifles and a large number of bullets from Khan’s residence in Lahore. Furthermore, glass bottles suspected to be used in making Molotov cocktails, and hundreds of marbles that were to be used to shoot at police with slingshots were also taken. Around five more Kalashnikovs were also found on Khan’s property.

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