Police storm Imran Khan's Lahore residence as he heads to court
Punjab police raid Imran Khan's residence in Lahore and violently beat PTI party workers.
Former Pakistani Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairperson, Imran Khan, said on Sunday that he was aware that he would be arrested as he headed to the Islamabad court to attend the Toshakhana case hearing.
"I am going to court despite knowing they’ll arrest me because I believe in the rule of law," Khan said in a video message posted on Twitter.
The PTI chairperson is scheduled to appear before the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal (ADSJ) to attend proceedings on the complaint filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for allegedly concealing details of gifts in his assets declarations, in a case known as the Toshakhana case.
In a video message posted by the PTI, Khan said that there was a premeditated plan to arrest him, adding that it was part of a larger "London plan" schemed by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
According to his party, Khan departed from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore a little after 8 am and was on his way to Islamabad.
Later, Khan tweeted: "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."
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.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) March 18, 2023
Before heading to court, Khan told Reuters that he has formed a committee to lead his party if he was arrested.
"I have made a committee which will obviously take decisions once - if - I'm inside" jail, the 70-year-old said in an interview in his Lahore home before heading to Islamabad early on Saturday. He said there were 94 cases against him.
Khan said there is no reason he should be arrested now because he had bail on all his cases. If convicted in a case, Khan could face disqualification from contesting the elections scheduled for November.
"The establishment right now somehow feels threatened by me," he considered, adding that his life "is even more at threat than it was then."
The former PM pointed out that he was worried about the reaction to his arrest or any attempt to assassinate him, saying, "I feel that there would be a very strong reaction, and it would be a reaction all over Pakistan."
"I just think that those who are trying to do this just cannot comprehend the situation," Khan said, adding, "unfortunately, the mind that is thinking of either killing me or putting me in jail, I don't think they comprehend where Pakistan is situated right now."
Police operation underway at Khan's Zaman Park residence
Later, Khan denounced a police operation that was underway at his Zaman Park residence.
"Meanwhile Punjab police have led an assault on my house in Zaman Park where Bushra Begum [Khan's wife] is alone," he tweeted.
Police enters Imran Khan’s house in Zaman Park pic.twitter.com/mgU6WzTtUK— Murtaza Ali Shah (@MurtazaViews) March 18, 2023
Police baton charge and petrol bombs in Zaman park pic.twitter.com/OhxI0gPwKn— Murtaza Ali Shah (@MurtazaViews) March 18, 2023
"Under what law are they doing this? This is part of London Plan where commitments were made to bring absconder Nawaz Sharif to power as quid pro quo for agreeing to one appointment," Khan added.
Meanwhile Punjab police have led an assault on my house in Zaman Park where Bushra Begum is alone. Under what law are they doing this? This is part of London Plan where commitments were made to bring absconder Nawaz Sharif to power as quid pro quo for agreeing to one appointment.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) March 18, 2023
According to the Pakistani Dawn news website, Punjab police personnel removed barricades from the entrance of Khan's residence and stormed the premises, violently beating PTI party workers.
The news website said that several roads leading to the area have been cordoned off with containers, as the entry of vehicles and pedestrians has been restricted.
On Wednesday, Pakistani police also stormed Khan's residence in a failed attempt to arrest the PTI chairperson.
PTI petitions against denial of entry to judicial complex
On its part, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf submitted a petition to the sessions court challenging the denial of entry to lawyers, party members, media personnel, and Imran’s security officials into the premises of the judicial complex.
Khan's counsel Babar Awan indicated that he was sensing a "mischievous plan of the government" behind the move, stressing that there was no legal justification for the ban.
Section 144 in Islamabad
Earlier on Saturday, PTI leader Asad Umar tweeted that the Islamabad administration imposed Section 144 in the capital, adding that mobile networks were also instructed to shut down their operations in most of the city.
"What illegal action is the govt now planning for tomorrow?" Umar said.
Section 144 imposed in Islamabad. Mobile networks told to shutdown operations in most of islamabad tomorrow. What illegal action is the govt now planning for tomorrow?— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) March 17, 2023