Police storm Imran Khan’s home and arrest 61 amid tear gas and bullet fire in chaotic stand-off as bitter feud between ex-cricket star and Pakistani Government deepens
- A senior officer claimed police entered the residence after man began shooting
- It comes as Imran Khan was set to appear in court today in Islamabad, Pakistan
Police have stormed the home of former Prime Minister Imran Khan in Lahore, Pakistan, and arrested 61 people amid chaotic tear gas shelling after someone opened fire from the roof of the building, officials said.
Senior officer Suhail Sukhera said police moved on the property to remove ‘encroachments’ and ‘blockades’ erected by Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party and his supporters.
Mr Sukhera added that supporters tried to resist police by throwing stones and petrol bombs and claimed police entered Mr Khan’s residence after a man on the roof of the property started shooting.
It comes as Mr Khan was set to appear in court today in Islamabad, Pakistan, to address charges of unlawfully selling state gifts given to him by foreign dignitaries during his time in office.
Mr Sukhera said police found masks, petrol-filled bottles, iron rods and batons inside Mr Khan’s residence which were used in attacks on police last week.
Mr Sukhera added that supporters tried to resist police by throwing stones and petrol bombs and claimed to enter Mr Khan’s residence after a man on the roof of the property started shooting
Mr Sukhera said police found masks, petrol-filled bottles, iron rods and batons inside Mr Khan’s residence which were used in attacks on police last week
Witnesses said police attempted to disperse Mr Khan’s supporters by firing tear gas and chased them to several homes in the nearby Zaman Park area.
Punjab’s police chief has said contingents will ‘remain outside’ Mr Khan’s home to ‘ensure law and order’.
Islamabad High Court yesterday suspended an arrest warrant issued against Mr Khan to ensure he could appear before the court to face alleged corruption charges.
But Mr Khan has hit back at the storming of his home, claiming the ‘siege of Lahore’ was intended to take him ‘away to prison’.
Mr Khan said on Twitter: ‘It is now clear that, despite my having gotten bail in all my cases, the (Pakistan Democratic Movement coalition) govt intends to arrest me.
‘Despite knowing their malafide intentions, I am proceeding to Islamabad & the court because I believe in rule of law.
‘It is also obvious now that the entire siege of Lahore was not about ensuring I appear before the court in a case but was intended to take me away to prison so that I am unable to lead our election campaign.’
Mr Khan also added in a video message that the government had planned his arrest despite him travelling to the hearing.
He said police had broken into his residence in Lahore, Pakistan, while his wife was alone in the property.
But Mr Khan has hit back at the storming of his home, claiming the ‘siege of Lahore’ was intended to take him ‘away to prison’
He condemned the action and demanded those responsible to be punished under law.
But Pakistan’s information minister said this week the Government had nothing to do with the police action and the police were complying with court orders.
Mr Khan had been at his Lahore home since Tuesday, after failing to appear at an earlier hearing, citing ‘security’ concerns.
His supporters hurled stones and clashed with baton-wielding police for two days to protect him from arrest.
Mr Khan, 70, now in the opposition, was ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament last April.
He is accused of selling state gifts and concealing assets during his time in office between 2018 and 2022.
It is one in a string of cases that the former cricket star turned politician has been facing since he was ousted.
He has also claimed that his removal from power was part of a conspiracy by his successor, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, and the United States.
Both Washington and Mr Sharif’s Government have denied the allegations.