Clashes Erupt in Pakistan as Police Try to Arrest Imran Khan on Graft Charges

On Wednes­day, clash­es between Pak­istan’s police and sup­port­ers of for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Imran Khan per­sist­ed out­side his home in Lahore, a day after offi­cers attempt­ed to arrest him for fail­ing to appear in court on graft charges.

The police oper­a­tion trig­gered clash­es between Khan’s sup­port­ers and police in major cities across the coun­try. Khan’s sup­port­ers hurled rocks and bricks at the offi­cers while police fired tear gas at his house.

The gov­ern­ment sent addi­tion­al police to tack­le the sit­u­a­tion after hun­dreds of Khan’s sup­port­ers showed unex­pect­ed perseverance.

The con­fronta­tion out­side Khan’s house con­tin­ued, and about a dozen police and some 35 of Khan’s sup­port­ers were report­ed injured.

Tear gas shells and pieces of bricks lit­tered the pave­ment as Khan’s fol­low­ers fought back with batons they had brought to resist police.

Khan, who was oust­ed in a no-con­fi­dence vote in Par­lia­ment in April, has avoid­ed appear­ances before the court since Novem­ber, claim­ing he was not med­ical­ly fit to trav­el from Lahore to Islam­abad to face indictment.

Khan has claimed that the string of cas­es against him, which includes ter­ror­ism charges, are a plot by the gov­ern­ment of his suc­ces­sor, Prime Min­is­ter Shah­baz Sharif, to dis­cred­it the for­mer crick­et star turned Islamist politician.

On Tues­day, Sharif told Pak­istan’s Geo tele­vi­sion that Khan’s arrest was ordered by a court, and it was not polit­i­cal victimization.

Angered over the expect­ed arrest of Khan, his sup­port­ers took to the streets across Pak­istan, block­ing some key roads near Islam­abad while ask­ing the gov­ern­ment to refrain from arrest­ing Khan.

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