Pakistan: Ex-PM Imran Khan dodges arrest after police show up at his residence

Addressing a crowd of party loyalists, the former premier said he had never 'bowed before any man or institution, and will never let you do so as well'

By Agencies

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AP file
AP file

Published: Sun 5 Mar 2023, 6:58 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Mar 2023, 7:07 PM

Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan on Sunday demanded a public trial of the Toshakhana case before a crowd gathered at his residence in Lahore — hours after the police claimed he was avoiding arrest in the case.

Seventy-year-old Khan, who has been recovering from a gunshot injury from an assassination attempt in Wazirabad last year, has thrice skipped indictment hearings in an Islamabad court over the case.

A police team travelled to Lahore on Sunday to arrest the former premier in connection with warrants issued in the Toshakhana (gift repository) case. They went to a room in Khan’s Zaman Park residence where the former prime minister was expected to be but he was not there.

“Imran Khan is reluctant to surrender — the Superintendent of Police had gone into the room but Imran Khan was not present there,” Islamabad police said in a tweet.

Khan is accused of failing to declare gifts received during his time in office, or the profit made from selling them. Government officials must declare all gifts but are allowed to keep those below a certain value.

Dawn reported that the Islamabad Police were met by a large number of PTI workers when they arrived at Imran Khan’s residence in Lahore. The workers had gathered there on the call of Fawad Chaudhry, a senior leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who had warned of country-wide protests if Khan was arrested.

Addressing the crowd of party loyalists, Khan said he had never “bowed before any man or institution, and will never let you do so as well”.

The former prime minister said he had called the public to his residence to pay tribute to them for the way they participated in the court arrest movement. “I did not call you for my support but to thank you,” he added.

Equating his cause with a holy mission saying his “jihad for true freedom” will continue, Khan stressed he was “not going to bow in front of anyone and nor allow anyone else [from his party and supporters] to do so”.


He also claimed that he was not behind the cases registered against the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leaders.

Khan claimed that another plan to assassinate him had been hatched. “I went to Lahore and Islamabad high court and there was no security,” he said, adding that his legal team would write to the chief justice of Pakistan to take notice of the matter.

“It seems as though the ones who should be responsible to provide safety are the real danger,” he said.

Terming the cases against him “comical” he also called for a public trial of his Toshakhana case.

In the hard-hitting speech, Khan said no matter if the government places his name on the exit control list (ECL) as he has no intention of leaving the country.

Taking a dig at the leadership of the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance, the PTI leader said that their legs start shaking if their “names are put on the no-fly list”.

Berating the former army chief, Khan alleged that General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa imposed a group of criminals on the country through a conspiracy.


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