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UPDATE - Pakistani court bars police from arresting former prime minister

UPDATE - Pakistani court bars police from arresting former prime minister
Lahore High Court orders security forces to halt operation to arrest Imran Khan until Friday in a case of alleged sale of foreign gifts he purportedly took from treasury-house


By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – A local court on Thursday extended the suspension of an ongoing police operation to arrest the former Pakistani prime minister on a judicial order in the northeastern city of Lahore for another day, according to a court record and local media.

Justice Tariq Saleem Shaikh of the Lahore High Court ordered the government and security forces to halt the operation to arrest Imran Khan until Friday.

The court also barred Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party from holding a public rally in Lahore on Sunday, directing the government and opposition to resolve the issue through negotiations, local broadcaster Dunya News reported.

Heavy police contingents, backed by paramilitary Rangers, surrounded Khan's residence on Tuesday after a district court reinstated his arrest warrant for repeatedly avoiding hearings in a case involving the alleged illegal purchases and sales of gifts given by foreign dignitaries while he was prime minister from August 2018 to April 2022.

Around 100 policemen were injured during the day-long operation, a spokesman for the Punjab provincial government said.

The PTI, for its part, claimed that dozens of its workers were injured and arrested during the operation.

Originally, the warrant was issued in late February, but the Islamabad High court suspended it last week and ordered Khan to appear in the court on March 13.

However, the cricketer-turned-politician instead preferred to lead an election rally in Lahore on Monday.

Previously, police attempted to arrest Khan on Feb. 5 but were unsuccessful due to resistance from his supporters at his residence.

- Another arrest warrant suspended

A district court in the capital Islamabad suspended a non-bailable arrest warrant for Khan in a case involving the alleged threatening of a judge until March 20, according to court records.

Judge Faizan Gilani ordered Khan to appear in court at the next hearing.

The former prime minister was booked in this case in August last year after he, during a rally, hurled threats to the judge who remanded one of his close aides to the police.

Later, Khan personally apologized to the judge.

Khan, the country's only premier to be deposed by a no-confidence vote in the country's 75-year political history, is facing a slew of cases ranging from terrorism to attempted murder and money laundering.

Most of the cases, which Khan dubs a "sham," were lodged after his ouster.

Khan, 70, blames his unceremonious ouster on a US-backed conspiracy, an allegation that both the incumbent coalition government in Islamabad and Washington have repeatedly refuted.

source: News Feed
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