Pakistan’s ex-PM Khan charged with terrorism

    WORLD  20 March 2023 - 09:30

    Police in Pakistan have filed terrorism and other charges against former prime minister Imran Khan, as well as 17 of his aides and scores of his supporters.

    The move on March 19 came after the ousted premier's followers clashed with security forces in the country's capital of Islamabad a day before, Sky News reports.

    Mr Khan's followers came to blows with police outside a court for several hours on Saturday, where the 70-year-old former prime minister was due to appear to face corruption charges.

    Petrol bombs and stones were also hurled at police as Mr Khan's home was raided.

    Officers responded with tear gas as they clashed with baton-wielding supporters of the politician in the eastern city of Lahore on Saturday and arrested 59 people during the violence.

    During the operation, a man on the roof of the sprawling compound opened fire.

    At least 50 officers were injured and several cars and motorcycles were torched at a police checkpoint too.

    Mr Khan did not end up appearing inside the court to face charges that he had sold state gifts received while in office and concealed assets. The judge subsequently postponed the hearing until 30 March.

    Besides Mr Khan, the police case filed on Sunday also accuses former and current politicians, former ministers, a former national assembly speaker and dozens of Mr Khan's supporters.

    The charges include terrorism, attacks on police, obstructing officers in doing their job, as well as wounding officers and threatening their lives.

    The developments are the latest involving increasing violence surrounding Mr Khan, who was ousted in a no-confidence vote in parliament last April.

    The former cricket star turned politician has since claimed, without offering any evidence, that his removal from power was illegal and a conspiracy by his successor Shahbaz Sharif's government and Washington.

    Both Mr Sharif and the US have denied the allegations.

    Following this weekend's clashes, Mr Khan said in a recorded video message on Sunday that the police were to blame for his failure to appear in court, claiming he never left his vehicle as the police were lobbing tear gas at his convoy and supporters.

    Mr Khan also claimed that his opponents are bent on either putting him behind bars or killing him, and condemned the raid on his home in Lahore as "shameful tactics, conspiracies and plans".

    Interior minister Rana Sanaullah responded by accusing Mr Khan of "creating all the drama just to avoid" the courts.

    Caliber.Az

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