Pakistan Police and supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan clashed outside his residence in Lahore on overnight ahead of his possible arrest.
In October last year, Imran Khan, 70, was found guilty by Pakistan’s election commission of unlawfully selling gifts to foreign dignitaries.
Under Pakistani law governing Islamabad’s “Toshakhana” – meaning “treasure house” in Persian – politicians can retain official state gifts by paying a certain percentage of their value to the government.
Charges were filed against the cricketer-turned-politician in an anti-corruption court last week. An arrest warrant was issued after Mr Khan skipped summons.
Pakistan Police used water cannons and tear gas to push back hundreds of Mr Khan’s supporters who had gathered outside his house to prevent his arrest on Tuesday. One activist of Mr Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party was killed during the clash with police.
This is the second time in recent weeks that police were dispatched from Islamabad to serve Mr Khan with an arrest warrant after he skipped several court summons.
As chaos ensued outside his residence, Khan released a video message. stating: “The police have arrived to arrest me. They think that if Imran Khan goes to jail, the people will go to sleep. You have to prove them wrong, you have to prove that the qaum (people) is alive.”
“You have to fight for your rights, you have to hit the streets. God has given Imran Khan everything. I am fighting your battle. I have fought all my life and will continue to do so. But if something happens to me, they put me in jail or kill me, you have to prove that you can fight even without Imran Khan. You have to prove that you will never accept this slavery and this rule by one man. Pakistan zindabad,” he added.
On Monday, the Lahore police booked Khan in a case related to the killing of the PTI worker – Ali Bilal alias Zille Shah – in a road accident. Earlier, the Lahore police had registered an FIR against Mr Khan and 400 others for Shah’s murder.
This is the 81st FIR against Khan since the PML-N-led federal coalition came into power 11 months ago.
With inputs from NDTV