South Asia

Imran Khan fears arrest as he heads to Islamabad court

Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan headed to court in Islamabad on Saturday and said he expected to be arrested – after days of legal wrangling and pitched battles between his supporters and police.

“It is now clear that, despite my having gotten bail in all my cases, the PDM govt intends to arrest me. Despite knowing their malafide intentions, I am proceeding to Islamabad & the court because I believe in rule of law. But ill intent of this cabal of crooks should be clear to all,” Khan tweeted on Saturday morning.

“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,” he said.

Earlier this week Khan’s supporters fought pitched battles with police outside the former prime minister’s home in Lahore as police tried to arrest him. Police eventually pulled back after legal hearings and Khan assurance that he would appear in court on Saturday.

AFP meanwhile reports that about 4,000 security officials including elite police commandos, anti-terrorism squads and paramilitary rangers have been deployed around Islamabad with hospitals put on high alert.

Before leaving his home for court, Khan told Reuters that he had formed a committee to lead his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party if he was arrested.

Pakistan’s information minister said this week the government had nothing to do with the police action and that the police were complying with court orders.

The case to be heard on Saturday pertains to charges that Khan sold luxury watches and other items given to the state during his 2018-22 term as prime minister.