On Sunday, Islamabad Police, accompanied by their counterparts from Punjab Police, arrived at Imran Khan residence in Zaman Park, Lahore, to arrest him due to his repeated failure to attend Toshakhana court hearings. The 70-year-old ex-prime minister had been recuperating from a gunshot wound sustained during an assassination attempt in Wazirabad last year. He had missed three indictment hearings relating to the case in an Islamabad sessions court.
Imran Khan is facing allegations of failing to disclose details about the gifts he kept from the Toshakhana, a depository where government officials receive presents from foreign dignitaries. Although officials can retain these gifts after paying a pre-assessed amount, Imran is accused of not including them in his assets declarations.
عدالتی احکامات کے مطابق عمران خان کی گرفتاری کےلیے اسلام آباد پولیس کی ٹیم لاہور پہنچی ہے۔— Islamabad Police (@ICT_Police) March 5, 2023
لاہور پولیس کے تعاون سے تمام کارروائی مکمل کی جارہی ہے۔
عدالتی احکامات کی تکمیل میں رکاوٹ ڈالنے والوں کے خلاف قانونی کارروائی عمل میں لائی جائے گی۔
Today, the Islamabad Police took to Twitter to announce a joint operation with Lahore police to apprehend Imran. According to their tweets, Imran was evading arrest, and even though the superintendent of police had searched his room, he was not found.
The Islamabad Police have announced that they will transport Imran Khan to Islamabad under their protection, emphasizing that the law applies to everyone equally. They have warned that legal action will be taken against anyone who obstructs the execution of court orders.
Meanwhile, the Islamabad Inspector General of Police, Akbar Nasir, has confirmed that the court’s notice has been delivered to Imran and must be acknowledged. In an interview with Technoutility, he appealed to Imran to comply with the court’s orders and present himself in court, adding that Islamabad and Lahore’s police teams are stationed outside Imran’s residence and will not leave until he is arrested.
پولیس ٹیم تاحال زمان پارک موجود ہے۔— Islamabad Police (@ICT_Police) March 5, 2023
IGP Nasir stressed that the police must implement court orders and maintain law and order, and they will make every effort to ensure that Imran cooperates with them.
TV footage showed PTI workers holding back police officials in Islamabad and Punjab Police uniforms outside Imran Khan’s residence in Zaman Park. Later, additional Punjab police reinforcements arrived at the scene.
On February 28, Additional District and Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Imran Khan after he failed to appear for his indictment in person. Imran had four court hearings scheduled that day and obtained bail in three of the four cases.
The warrant, available on Technoutility.com, stated that Imran had repeatedly failed to attend court. It also noted that Imran chose which courts and cases to prioritize selectively. Therefore, he should be summoned through a non-bailable warrant of arrest for March 7.
Islamabad Police carrying the arrest warrants issued by Judge Zafar Iqbal of Islamabad Session Court in Tosha Khana Case for selling state gifts worth $2 million has arrived at Imran Khan’s residence in #Lahore. SP City Lahore Police Hussain Tahir is leading the operation. pic.twitter.com/OMmCcErpDj— Muhammad Ibrahim (@miqazi) March 5, 2023
During the police presence outside his residence, Imran took to Twitter and expressed his thoughts on how a country can become a “banana republic.”
He wrote, “What kind of future can a country have when corrupt individuals are appointed as its leaders? Shehbaz Sharif was on the verge of being convicted for Rs8 bn money laundering by the NAB and Rs16 bn corruption by the FIA, but was saved by Gen Bajwa, who kept delaying the NAB trial.”
Imran Khan continued to share his thoughts on the matter, stating that Shehbaz Sharif was made the prime minister while still under trial for corruption. He also accused Sharif of appointing heads of institutions investigating his cases, such as the FIA and NAB, in an attempt to clear his name in the Rs16 bn corruption and Rs8 bn money laundering cases against him.
Imran said, “This is a clear example of how a country can become a banana republic.”
Fawad Chaudhry threatens nationwide protests if the “red line” is crossed.
During a press conference held outside Imran Khan’s residence, Fawad Chaudhry, a leader of the PTI, announced that the Islamabad Police had come to execute Imran’s arrest in the Toshakhana case. Fawad argued that there were 74 cases against Imran, and it was humanly impossible for him to appear in all of them. He claimed that the arrest was a ploy to delay the upcoming general elections in Punjab. Fawad reassured party supporters that Imran has always respected the judiciary and appeared before courts whenever called. However, he warned that if the police crossed the red line, there would be a massive protest that Pakistan had never seen before.
What future can a country have when crooks are thrust as rulers upon it? SS was about to be convicted by NAB for Rs 8 bn money laundering & by FIA for another Rs 16 bn corruption when he was rescued by Gen Bajwa who kept getting NAB cases trial postponed. While under trial he was— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) March 5, 2023
Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the PTI vice-chairman, urged supporters not to panic, explaining that the notice presented by the police did not have any arrest orders. He added that Imran and their legal team would hold a meeting to announce their action plan. Qureshi reiterated that the party would follow the legal process and appealed to the party workers across the country to remain peaceful.
In a second media talk, Fawad claimed that the police would be committing contempt of court if they arrested Imran and that the attempt to arrest Imran was only being carried out so that people could die. He accused the IG and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah of wanting a clash at Zaman Park and sending Lahore police to tear gas people to provoke a reaction. Fawad claimed that the courts had already halted Imran’s arrest and urged PTI workers to remain peaceful. PTI leader Hammad Azhar called on party supporters in Lahore to gather at the Zaman Park residence.
Sanaullah court order
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah clarified that Imran Khan’s arrest was based on court orders and not the government’s decision. He claimed that the police were only executing the court’s order and that the government would not have faced any difficulty arresting the PTI leader if desired. The minister added that Imran should be arrested, punished, and disqualified per the court’s orders.
اہلیان لاہور زمان پارک پہنچیں۔ تمام کارکن اور عوام پُرامن رہیں۔— Hammad Azhar (@Hammad_Azhar) March 5, 2023
Meanwhile, PML-N chief organizer Maryam Nawaz asked her father, Nawaz Sharif, to lend some of his courage to Imran Khan. PML-N leader Attaullah Tarar also commented on the situation, claiming that the PTI chief was panicking after seeing the nature of the cases against him and that the only way to change the situation was to arrest and jail him.
Imran Khan was scheduled to be indicted in the Toshakhana Reference case on February 28, but his lawyer had requested an exemption from the hearing due to other court appearances. The judge then issued arrest warrants for Imran and adjourned the hearing till March 7. The case alleges that Imran did not disclose the details of the gifts he retained from the Toshaskhana during his time as the Prime Minister and the proceeds from their reported sales.
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