Pakistan Police Try to Arrest Imran Khan: Here’s the Latest

AAs Pakistani police prepared to arrest former Prime Minister Imran Khan at his home in Lahore on Tuesday, hundreds of his supporters flocked to his side, sparking clashes. The police fired tear gas and water cannon at them in front of the residence in Zaman Park.

Amid the unrest, Khan shared a rallying cry in a video posted to Twitter. “The police are here to send me to jail. They think if Imran Khan goes to jail, this nation will go to sleep. You have to prove them wrong,” he said in the video. “[If] something happens to me, if they send me to jail or if I get killed, you have to show that you can fight without me.”

How did Khan get caught up in legal turmoil?

Khan was ousted from his position as prime minister last April following a vote of no confidence in parliament. He claimed without evidence that his deportation was illegal and a conspiracy by his political opponents and the US

Khan of the centrist Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has been accused of selling government gifts and failing to fully declare assets during his tenure as prime minister. Police earlier said they would arrest Khan in connection with his involvement in corruption and “terrorism” cases. On Sunday, the government of Pakistan released a comprehensive report on foreign gifts withheld from public office holders from 2002 to 2022. Khan is said to have received several wristwatches and pieces of jewellery.

The Pakistani government also accused Khan of “terrorism” after he criticized senior officials for arresting his chief of staff; Law enforcement described his reaction as ominous.

What is Khan’s populist influence?

Khan’s supporters see the many charges against him as politically motivated. “Khan supporters believe that he is not corrupt and that he is the target of a political witch hunt,” said Michael Kugelman, associate director of the Asia program at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

“It’s not surprising given that the government has been saying for months that it will arrest Khan for his repeated failure to appear in court,” Kugelman said. They had repeatedly mentioned having a warrant for his arrest but did not arrest him. “What’s different today is that the government seems to mean business.”

The Pakistani government would be wary of arresting a populist leader like Khan for fear of how it might anger his base, for which his arrest would be a “red line,” Kugelman says.

“The government would prefer that he surrender voluntarily because images of police breaking down the doors to take Khan by force would fire a support base much harder than if he just walked out of the house into a police car, ” he says.

That response may differ depending on how quickly Khan is released – whether he can be released on bail within hours or be held indefinitely. An arrest or conviction could also undermine Khan’s election chances ahead of a planned national election this fall.

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write to Sanya Mansoor at [email protected].


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