Pakistani police storm ex-PM Khan’s home, arrest 30
The Manila Times
Asia And Oceania
LAHORE, Pakistan: Pakistani police stormed former prime minister Imran Khan’s residence in the eastern city of Lahore on Saturday and arrested 30 people as tear gas was deployed after someone opened fire from the roof of the building. Senior police officer Suhail Sukhera, who is leading the operation in the upscale Zaman Park neighborhood, said police moved to remove encroachments and blockade erected by Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party and his defiant supporters. He said baton-wielding Khan supporters attempted to resist the police by throwing stones and gas bombs, but the officers moved on until a man on the roof of Khan’s residence opened fire. No one was hurt. Sukhera said police broke open the main door of Khan’s residence and found masks, gas-filled bottles, iron rods and batons used in attacks on police during the week. He said that inside the sprawling residence, illegal structures were erected to shelter those who have been involved in attacks on police that have injured dozens of officers. Witnesses said police attempted to disperse Khan supporters by firing tear gas and chasing them to several homes in Zaman Park. Khan was expected to appear in a court in Islamabad on Saturday after a top tribunal on Friday suspended his arrest warrant, giving him a reprieve to travel to the Pakistani capital and face charges in a graft case without being detained. Khan has been holed up at his home in Lahore since Tuesday, after failing to appear at an earlier hearing in the case. His supporters hurled stones and clashed with baton-wielding police for two days to protect the former premier from arrest. During his road trip to Islamabad, Khan said in a video message that the government had planned his arrest despite his travel to a hearing. He said police had broken into his residence in Lahore while his wife was alone at home. He condemned the action and demanded that those responsible be punished under the law. Khan, now in the opposition, was ousted in a no-confidence vote in parliament last April. He is accused of selling state gifts while in office and concealing assets. It’s one in a string of cases that the former cricket star-turned-Islamist politician has been facing since his ouster. The 70-year-old opposition leader 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 Sharif’s government have denied the allegations.