BREAKING: Big Relief For Ex-Pakistan PM Imran Khan, Lahore High Court Says No Arrest For Now, Stops Police Operation At Zaman Park | World News
LAHORE: In a big relief for former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Lahore High Court on Wednesday stopped the ongoing police operation at his Zaman Park residence in Lahore and ordered the authorities not to arrest him till 10 AM on Thursday.
Pakistan’s Dawn News reported that hours after a day-long escalation continued between the PTI supporters and law enforcement agencies outside Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence, the Lahore High Court has stopped the ongoing police operation till 10 am Thursday.
#UPDATE | Hours after a day-long escalation continued between PTI supporters and law enforcement agencies outside former prime minister Imran residence, Lahore High Court stopped police operation at Zaman Park till 10am tomorrow: Pakistan’s Dawn News https://t.co/6lcSBhtP9L
— ANI (@ANI) March 15, 2023
The Lahore High Court intervened even as Pakistan Rangers and police personnel closed in on ousted prime minister Imran Khan’s residence to arrest him in a corruption case on Wednesday. However, after the high court order, they started retreating, prompting cheers and celebrations among his supporters. Citing sources, Geo News reported that police will not advance on Khan’s Zaman Park residence and there will be no arrest till 10 AM on Thursday.
Police and other security officials were seen leaving Zaman Park, prompting celebrations among Khan’s supporters who cheered “chasing the Rangers away”.
Soon after, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Khan came out of his residence, donning a gas mask, and met the party workers. In a tweet, the party said that more workers were reaching Zaman Park and vowed not to let the “impure intentions” of the coalition government succeed.
Earlier in the day, authorities deployed the elite Rangers outside Khan’s residence, a day after clashes with police left over 60 people injured, including 54 policemen.
Lahore’s Zaman Park area has turned into a battleground after 70-year-old Khan’s defiant supporters engaged in pitched battles with policemen on Tuesday to stop them from arresting their leader in the Toshakhana case, resulting in injuries on both sides.
The injured were shifted to Lahore’s hospitals and police arrested dozens of Khan’s supporters. Citing hospital sources, Geo News reported that at least 54 policemen and eight civilians were injured in the clashes that have been ongoing since Tuesday afternoon. Khan’s supporters clashed repeatedly with police overnight.
The upscale area where Khan lives remained under siege on Wednesday as the government sent Rangers to aid police teams who struggled on Tuesday to muscle their way through a ring of enraged PTI supporters to arrest Khan.
The police, with their riot gear on, closed in on Khan’s home in order to comply with the court orders to arrest him in the Toshakhana case. Khan has been in the crosshairs for buying gifts, including an expensive Graff wristwatch he had received as the premier at a discounted price from the state depository called Toshakhana and selling them for profit.
Established in 1974, the Toshakhana is a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division and stores precious gifts given to rulers, parliamentarians, bureaucrats, and officials by heads of other governments and states and foreign dignitaries.
In a video address to the nation from his residence, Khan said on Wednesday that he has asked the military establishment to end this ‘tamasha’ (drama)”. The Pakistani TV channels did not broadcast Khan’s speech. His party said the media blackout the speech’s coverage on the order from the “top”.
“My house has been under heavy attack since yesterday afternoon. The latest attack by Rangers pitted the largest political party against the army. This is what PDM and the enemies of Pakistan want. No lessons learnt from the East Pakistan tragedy,” he said, referring to the creation of Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) in 1971.
Khan said he had prepared his bag to go to jail but his party workers didn’t allow him to surrender, fearing a threat to his life in police custody and put up strong resistance.
“The workers fear for my life seeing what had happened to slain journalist Arshad Sharif, PTI leaders Azam Swati and Shehbaz Gill in police custody. They think that I will be tortured and killed in custody because those involved in an attempt on my life are in power,” he said.
He said he never had witnessed this kind of police attack and brutality against any political leader in Pakistan. “I asked for the Toshakhana case to be transferred to a court with adequate security but arrest warrants were issued for me. It is unprecedented that an ex-prime minister has been refused security and is being attacked,” he lambasted.
“Clearly ‘arrest’ claim was mere drama because the real intent is to abduct & assassinate. From tear gas & water cannons, they have now resorted to firing. I signed a surety bond last evening, but the DIG refused to even entertain it. There is no doubt of their mala fide intent,” Khan tweeted on Wednesday.
Khan’s party has challenged the police operation in the Lahore High Court, requesting it to direct the government to end it. His party on Tuesday moved the Islamabad High Court against the arrest warrants issued in the Toshakhana case.
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