Pakistan: Police storm the home of former Prime Minister Imran Khan and arrest 30

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Pakistani police raided the home of former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the eastern city of Lahore on Saturday, arresting 30 people and using tear gas after “bulldozing the main gate”.

Khan, 70, now in opposition, was ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament last April.

He is accused of selling government gifts and concealing assets during his tenure. It’s one in a series of cases the former cricket star-turned-Islamist politician has faced since his ouster.

The former prime minister has been hiding at his home in Lahore since Tuesday after failing to appear at an earlier hearing in the case against him.

Supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan throw stones at police next to a burning vehicle on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 in Lahore, Pakistan. (AP Photo/KM Chaudary)

Supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan throw stones at police next to a burning vehicle during clashes in Lahore, Pakistan (Image: AP)

His supporters threw stones and clashed with baton-wielding police officers for two days to protect him from arrest.

Senior police official Suhail Sukhera said police were scrambling to clear abuses and blockades set up by Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party and its defiant supporters.

He said Khan supporters with batons tried to resist police by throwing rocks and petrol bombs, but officers kept walking until a man opened fire on the roof of Khan’s residence. Nobody was hurt.

The NDTV news agency reported that police “bulldozed the main gate” and urged Mr Khan’s party workers to disperse.

Illegal structures were erected in the sprawling residence to protect those involved in attacks on police that left dozens of officers injured.

Police also found masks, bottles filled with petrol, iron bars and batons used in attacks on officers during the week.

Witnesses said police tried to disperse Khan supporters by firing tear gas and chased them to several homes in the Zaman Park neighborhood.

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Police officers make way for former Prime Minister Imran Khan, center, upon his arrival to appear in court in Lahore, Pakistan, on Friday March 17, 2023. A Pakistani Supreme Court suspended an arrest warrant for Khan and gave him a stay to travel to Islamabad and face bribery charges without being arrested. Khan has been holed up at his home in the eastern city of Lahore since Tuesday. (AP Photo/KM Chaudhry)

Former Prime Minister and cricket legend Imran Khan is facing a spate of corruption charges after being ousted from government last year (Image: AP)

LAHORE, PAKISTAN – MARCH 17: The Lahore Supreme Court grants protective bail in several legal cases to the country's former Prime Minister Imran Khan on March 17, 2023 in Lahore, Pakistan. Khan arrived at court with hundreds of supporters. The police take security measures. (Photo by Muhammed Semih Ugurlu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Police arrested 30 Khan supporters after they bulldozed into his home (Image: Getty)

LAHORE, PAKISTAN – MARCH 17: The Lahore Supreme Court grants protective bail in several legal cases to the country's former Prime Minister Imran Khan on March 17, 2023 in Lahore, Pakistan. Khan arrived at court with hundreds of supporters. The police take security measures. (Photo by Muhammed Semih Ugurlu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Tear gas was used after one of Khan’s supporters fired a gun from the roof of Khan’s house (Image: Getty)

Khan was due to appear in a court in Islamabad on Saturday after a top court on Friday suspended his arrest warrant and granted him a stay to travel to Islamabad and face the charges against him without being arrested.

Allegations against Khan and his supporters include rioting, attempted murder, aiding and abetting violence and criminal conspiracy under the country’s counter-terrorism law.

Earlier, Mr Khan said he had formed a committee to lead his party should he be arrested.

The former cricket legend led nationwide protests after he was ousted from power last year.

Police tried unsuccessfully to arrest him last week, leading to heated arguments with his party officials.

The court had previously issued arrest warrants for him in connection with the case after he failed to appear despite being summoned to earlier hearings.

Mr Khan, who was shot and wounded during the election campaign in November, said the threat to his life was greater than ever and claimed – without evidence – that his political opponents and the military wanted to prevent him from joining later that year to run for elections.

He has also long claimed that his removal from power was part of a conspiracy by his successor, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, and the US.

Both Washington and Sharif’s government have denied the allegations.

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https://metro.co.uk/2023/03/18/pakistan-police-storm-the-home-of-former-pm-imran-khan-and-arrest-30-18464842/ Pakistan: Police storm the home of former Prime Minister Imran Khan and arrest 30

Justin Scaccy

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