Imran Khan Wanted by Pakistan Police: Here's Why

Representational image (File)

Violent clashes erupted in Lahore's Zaman Park area on Tuesday as supporters of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan engaged in pitched battles with the police. The clashes lasted for more than 11 hours as supporters of Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) tried to prevent the police from arresting the ousted premier, resulting in injuries to dozens of policemen.

The police contingent, including armored vehicles, had arrived at Khan's Lahore residence to arrest him after a non-bailable warrant was issued in the ongoing Toshakhana (gift depository) case against him. In this case, Imran Khan had been accused of concealing his asset declarations and details of the gifts he received from the Toshakhana. Khan was alleged to have earned $36 million from selling three watches gifted to him.

The Toshakhana is a department that stores expensive items, including gifts, received by public servants. Rules by the department make it mandatory for public servants/officials to report all such materials received by them. However, the President and the prime minister of the country are allowed to retain expensive gifts from the department.

This was the second time in less than ten days that Khan had evaded arrest due to massive protests by supporters of the PTI. Earlier on March 5, a team of Islamabad Police had reached Khan's Lahore residence to arrest him, but scores of PTI supporters clashed with the police, preventing officials from apprehending Khan, who had locked himself inside a room at his residence.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) banned satellite television channels from broadcasting live and recorded speeches of the former cricketer-turned-politician after Islamabad police failed to arrest him. On Tuesday, Khan, in a video message, asked his supporters to fight for real freedom and continue the struggle even if he is killed or arrested.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Imran Khan said he was mentally prepared to be arrested on Tuesday night, claiming that the government was petrified of the popularity of his party and wanted to remove him from the electoral contest.
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