While en route to Islamabad, a car in Khan’s convoy had an accident which had to delay the court appearance of Pakistan President Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Khan said this was all part of a plan to arrest him so he would be unable to lead the party’s election campaign.
Khan told reporters a committee has been formed to lead his party if he is arrested. “I’ve formed a committee that will obviously make decisions once – if – I’m in prison.”
Although the courts have granted Khan arrest protection in 9 cases, including the Toshahana case, the head of the PTI learned that he would be arrested. “I go to court knowing that they will arrest me because I believe in the rule of law,” he said in a video message posted on Twitter.
چیئرمین عمران خان کا خصوصی بیان۔ #چلو_چلو_عمران_کے_ساتھ https://t.co/8c0l0aC5eC
— PTI (@PTIofficial) 1679124274000
Meanwhile, police personnel who camped outside Khan’s Zaman Park residence in Lahore for over three days to arrest him reportedly forcibly entered the premises soon after the former prime minister left for the high court. .
The 70-year-old is expected to appear before the court of Additional Session and District Judge Zafar Iqbal to participate in proceedings on the complaint filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan for allegedly hiding donation details in his asset declarations.
Here are the main developments:
Police enter the premises of Khan’s residence in Zaman Park
News from Lahore said the police took control of Khan’s Zaman Park residence after evicting hundreds of PTI supporters.
Punjab Police personnel reportedly removed the barricades from the residence entrance and entered the premises. Police reportedly met resistance from PTI workers camped inside and responded with a baton charge.
They are also attacking the president’s house where Bhusra Bibi is alone. This is a clear contempt of court after the LHC or… https://t.co/YRi1jFqM3q
— PTI (@PTIofficial) 1679125262000
Some activists were reportedly taken into custody. An unverified video posted by PTI showed police attacking workers inside Khan’s residence.
A separate video posted by an activist showed an electric shovel breaching what appeared to be the main gate of Zaman Park, after which police personnel can be seen entering the premises.
It was also reported that the police broke into the house of the head of the PTI by breaking down the door. The staff also uprooted the fields erected inside the premises.
Assault on my house: Imran Khan
Khan denounced the police operation taking place at his residence in Zaman Park in Lahore.
“Meanwhile the Punjab police conducted an assault on my house in Zaman Park where Bushra Begum is alone,” he said in a tweet. “Under what law are they doing this? This is part of the London Plan in which commitments have been made to bring fugitive Nawaz Sharif to power in return for accepting an appointment.”
Meanwhile the Punjab Police conducted an assault on my home in Zaman Park where Bushra Begum is alone. Under which law a… https://t.co/JnqnRZzy76
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) 1679124670000
The head of the PTI claimed that an “agreement” was signed in London which stipulated that “Imran must be jailed to destroy his party and close all cases against Nawaz Sharif”. Imran argued that his arrest “had nothing to do with the law” but was in fact part of the “London” conspiracy.
Strict security outside the high court
Stringent security measures have been implemented outside the G-11 judicial compound in Islamabad, where Khan is expected to arrive shortly.
A large contingent of police has been deployed to the area to provide security for Khan, who survived an attack in November last year.
Khan said he was aware the government would arrest him on his way to Islamabad court to attend the hearing in the Toshakhana case amid lengthy efforts by law enforcement agencies to arrest him for missing previous hearings.
Section 144 in Islamabad
The Islamabad administration imposed Section 144 in the capital on Friday evening, banning private companies, security guards or individuals from carrying weapons. It is mandatory for drivers to carry their vehicle registration documents with them while driving.
In a tweet, the capital’s police said a traffic plan had been issued and citizens were advised to avoid unnecessary travel to G-11 and G-10 areas.
“The Islamabad Chief Commissioner has ordered citizens to cooperate with the authorities and avoid unnecessary travel to ensure the smooth implementation of the traffic plan.”
In the latest hearing on Thursday, the court rejected Imran’s request for the suspension of the arrest warrants issued against him.
However, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspended the arrest warrants issued against Imran on Friday, giving him the opportunity to appear before the lower court on Saturday.
During Friday’s hearing, Imran’s lawyer Khawaja Haris presented a pledge from his client, assuring him that the PTI head would appear in court on March 18.
Islamabad High Court suspends arrest warrant for Imran Khan
Khan has been targeted for buying gifts, including an expensive Graff wristwatch he had received as premier at a discounted price from the state-owned depot called Toshakhana, and for selling them for profit.
Established in 1974, the Toshakhana is a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division and holds valuable gifts given to rulers, MPs, bureaucrats and officials from heads of other governments and states and foreign dignitaries.
Khan was disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan in October last year for failing to share details of the sales. The electoral body subsequently filed a complaint with the district court to punish him, under criminal laws, for selling the gifts he had received as prime minister of the country.
Khan missed several hearings in the case.
The PTI chief resisted arrest in the Toshakhana case, holed up in his Zaman Park residence in Lahore, surrounded by hundreds of his supporters, who have fought pitched battles with the police and Rangers in recent days, resulting in the injuries of more than 60 people, mostly policemen.
The clashes finally subsided after the courts intervened on Wednesday, a day after which Khan’s supporters placed containers outside the main entrance of his residence and equipped themselves with clubs and harnesses to protect the former premier from any further police action.
As the police besieged his Lahore residence, Khan had again rushed to the IHC with a petition against the arrest orders.
The IHC declined to intervene and asked the lawyer to go to the district court and commit to summoning Khan on March 18, when the court had scheduled a hearing on the case.
Khan appeared before the Lahore High Court on Friday and assured that he was ready to appear before the judge on Saturday who is handling a corruption case against him.
(With contributions from agencies)