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Former Pakistani PM Khan Asks Court To Hear Request To Stop Arrest Warrant, May Appear At Hearing

By RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal March 17, 2023

A lawyer for Imran Khan says the former prime minister has asked a Pakistani court to hear his request on March 17 to stop a police operation to arrest him after violent clashes this week between his supporters and security forces trying to detain him at his residence in the northeastern city of Lahore.

His lawyers said the one-time cricket superstar had yet to decide whether he will appear in court on March 18, though it was likely as that is when his bail runs out.

Aides to Khan say the former prime minister had secured "protective bail" from a court and therefore police could not arrest him.

Over the past two days, the Lahore High Court has ruled that the police operation be paused after followers of Khan's political party, Pakistan Tehrik-e Insaf (PTI), gathered outside Khan's residence in Lahore on March 14 and battled with police, who had arrived to arrest Khan in a case involving state gifts.

Since his ouster last April in a no-confidence vote in parliament, Khan has repeatedly ignored arrest warrants and court summons in a string of cases against him, claiming they are a plot by the government led by his successor, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Sharif has insisted that Khan's arrest was ordered by a court and was not political.

Two courts in Islamabad on March 13 issued arrest warrants for Khan over his failure to appear before judges in a case involving accusations that Khan has concealed details of gifts received while he was prime minister in his asset declarations, and in a terrorism case.

Khan has failed to attend indictment hearings three times in the gifts case.

A district and sessions court restored nonbailable arrest warrants for Khan in the gifts case, and instructed the police to arrest him and present him in court by March 18.

Khan has called on his supporters to reach his residence in Lahore in video messages and tweets. He urged his supporters to "continue the struggle."

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/pakistan-khan-arrest- court-hearing-request/32322568.html

Copyright (c) 2023. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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