Pakistan police file terrorism charges against ex-PM Imran Khan

Imran Khan arrived in Islamabad from Lahore to appear in court. (document)


Pakistani police on Sunday charged Imran Khan and a dozen PTI leaders with terrorism charges of vandalism outside the judiciary building in Islamabad ahead of a corruption trial involving the ousted prime minister. Attack security personnel and create a riot.

Clashes erupted outside Islamabad’s judiciary building on Saturday when Mr Khan arrived from Lahore for the long-awaited hearing in the Toshakhana case.

More than 25 security personnel were injured in a standoff between Pakistani Tehreek-e-Insaf workers and police, prompting Additional District and Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal to postpone a court hearing until March 30.

The case was registered against arrested PTI workers and wanted political party leaders. Some 17 PTI leaders were named in the FIR filed by the Islamabad police, Geo News reported.

Workers vandalized police checkpoints and the gates of the judicial building, the FIR said.

As many as 18 people were arrested for arson, stone-throwing and vandalism of judicial buildings, the FIR said.

“About two police cars and seven motorcycles were burned and the official vehicle of the police station officer (SHO) was damaged,” it added.

Imran Khan, 70, arrived in Islamabad from Lahore to appear in court. He was accompanied by a motorcade of his supporters.

Shortly after he traveled to Islamabad for the hearing, more than 10,000 armed Punjabi police personnel stormed Mr Khan’s Zaman Park residence in Lahore and arrested dozens of his party workers.

Police officers used electric shovels to remove barricades and tents at the entrance to the official residence of the chairman of Pakistan’s Justice Insaf Party and expelled hundreds of supporters who had camped there to prevent Khan’s arrest in the Toshahana case.

They searched the house after removing the main entrance and walls. According to reports, the Punjab police later ended the operation, encountering resistance from internal PTI staff, leading to violence. About 10 workers were reportedly injured in the police operation in Lahore.

PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said on Sunday the party would target police registering cases involved in “illegal operations” and violence at Mr Khan’s residence.

“Today, the legal team met. The way the police defied the Lahore High Court decision to enter Imran Khan’s residence trampled on every rule of the sanctity of the family. [things were] stolen. [They] Also took away the juice box. Innocent people were tortured,” he tweeted.

“Disobedience to a court order is inexcusable. The High Court should uphold its judgment. The case is being registered against all police officers who carried out illegal actions and participated in violence,” he said.

Earlier, Imran Khan appeared in the Lahore High Court on Friday and assured that he was ready to appear before the Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Iqbal, who is handling the corruption case against him, on Saturday.

The PTI chief has been buying gifts at the jetty, including expensive Graff watches, which he received as prime minister at a discount from the state depository institution called Toshakhana and selling them at a profit.

Established in 1974, Toshakhana is a department under the executive control of the Cabinet Department to house valuable gifts from other governments and heads of state as well as foreign dignitaries to rulers, MPs, bureaucrats and officials.

Last October, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) disqualified the cricketer-turned-politician for failing to disclose details of the sale. The top electoral body later filed a complaint with a district court seeking to punish him under the penal code for selling gifts he received as the country’s prime minister.

Mr Khan was ousted last April after losing a no-confidence vote, becoming the first Pakistani prime minister to be ousted by a National Assembly vote.

(Aside from the title, this story is unedited by NDTV staff and published via a syndicated feed.)

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