Police attempt to arrest former Pakistani PM Imran Khan
Pakistani police hand former PM Imran Khan a warrant to attend a trial on March 7 without arresting him.
Al Mayadeen correspondent in Pakistan said the Islamabad police are in Lahore to arrest former Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan in cooperation with the Punjab police.
Our correspondent indicated that the police warned on Twitter that "legal action will be taken against those who try to obstruct the execution of court orders."
However, the police handed former Prime Minister Imran Khan a warrant to attend a trial on March 7 without arresting him, according to our correspondent.
Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported that Islamabad Police and the Punjab police reached PTI chairman Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence in Lahore to take him into custody over his persistent absences from Toshakhana court hearings.
The newspaper said PTI workers outside the Zaman Park residence held back officers from the Islamabad police and the Punjab police to prevent them from entering Imran Khan's residence.
Supporters of Imran Khan are preventing Islamabad Police from entering residence in Zaman Park Lahore pic.twitter.com/RUI6zvhvnE— Muhammad Ibrahim (@miqazi) March 5, 2023
Recovering from an assassination attempt in Wazirabad last year, the former Prime Minister, 70, missed three indictment hearings in the case in an Islamabad sessions court.
According to Dawn, he is accused of "allegedly concealing, in his assets declarations, details of the gifts he retained from the Toshakhana — a repository where presents handed to government officials from foreign officials are kept."
Islamabad Police said Imran Khan was "avoiding" the arrest, noting that the superintendent of police had "gone into Imran’s room but he was not present there."
The police said "it will transfer Imran Khan to Islamabad under their protection. Law is equal for all."
Islamabad Inspector General of Police Akbar Nasir confirmed that the police had delivered the court’s notice to Imran Khan and confirmed that it had to be received.
"With a lot of respect, we have requested Imran Khan to come with us so that the court’s orders can be obeyed and Imran can be presented in court," Nasir told DawnNewsTV.
"We will try our best that he comes with us," he added.
On February 28, Additional District and Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal issued non-bailable arrest warrants against Imran Khan for failing to appear in person for the indictment.
According to the warrant, Imran "is making a pick and choose for courts and cases and this case is not included in his priority."
"The accused be summoned through a non-bailable warrant of arrest for March 7," it read.
Police arrive at former PM Imran Khan's residence at Zaman Park, Islamabad to arrest him in the Toshakhana case pic.twitter.com/ygmgj6QNvI— Megh Updates 🚨™ (@MeghUpdates) March 5, 2023
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PTI leader threatens with protests if "red line" crossed
On his part, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said in a press conference outside Imran’s residence that "there are 74 cases against Imran. It is humanly not possible for any person to appear in court in all these cases."
He added that Imran’s arrest attempt was aimed at postponing the upcoming general elections in the state of Punjab.
"They want Imran Khan to go to court so that terrorists can target him again," the PTI leader said, calling on party workers across the country to prepare to protest.
"If they cross the red line, there will be a protest that Pakistan has never seen before," he warned.
In the same context, PTI vice-chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi explained that "the notice [presented by the police] does not have any arrest orders. Imran Khan and our legal team will hold a meeting at 2:30 pm and then announce our plan of action."
"We are a political party and we will have a political approach to this situation as well. You need to not worry but stay cautioned. We will meet Imran Khan right now," he indicated.
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