Pakistan police clash with ex-PM Khan supporters over arrest attempt

Pakistan police clash with ex-PM Khan supporters over arrest attempt

Pakistan riot police on Tuesday used water cannon and tear gas to push back supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan who have gathered outside his house to prevent officers from arresting him.

Khan was ousted from office by a no confidence vote last year, and has been snarled in a series of legal cases as he campaigns for early elections and his return to office.

It is the second time in recent weeks that police have been despatched from the capital Islamabad to Khan's home in the eastern city of Lahore to serve an arrest warrant after he skipped several court dates linked to a corruption case citing security concerns.

"We are here basically to execute the warrants and to arrest him," Syed Shahzad Nadeem Bukhari, deputy inspector general of Islamabad police, told reporters outside Khan's residence in Lahore.

Officers were met by at least 200 Khan supporters, some wielding sticks and hurling stones, draped in the red and green flags of Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.

Police fired a water cannon and tear gas on the crowds as they attempted to clear a path to Khan's house, holding signs plastered with the arrest warrant for the 70-year-old opposition leader.

From inside the house, Khan recorded a video message which he released on Twitter.

"Police have arrived here to put me in prison," he said. "They believe the nation will go into slumber when Imran Khan goes to jail."

PTI deputy leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters in Lahore that "we want to be peaceful".

Last year he was shot in the leg at a demonstration, an assassination bid he blamed on Sharif.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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