New Delhi: Days after a Pakistani court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case, the Islamabad Police on Sunday (March 5, 2023) reached the former prime minister’s residence to arrest him.
“According to the court orders, a team of Islamabad Police has reached Lahore to arrest Imran Khan. All operations are being completed with the cooperation of the Lahore Police. Legal action will be taken against those obstructing the execution of court orders,” the cops said.
عمران خان گرفتاری سے گریزاں ہیں۔ ایس پی صاحب کمرے میں گئے ہیں مگر وہاں عمران خان موجود نہیں۔ ٹیم عمران خان کی گرفتاری کےلیے پہنچی ہے۔
— Islamabad Police (@ICT_Police) March 5, 2023
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said that any attempt to arrest Khan will “seriously worsen the situation”.
“I want to warn this incompetent and anti-Pakistan government not to push Pakistan into further crisis and act sensibly, the workers should reach Zaman Park,” he said.
Khan, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief, has been in the crosshairs for buying gifts, including an expensive Graff wristwatch he had received as the premier at a discounted price from the state depository called Toshakhana and selling them for profit.
The development comes a day after most of the leaders and workers of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party — who were arrested for its mass court arrest movement against the federal government’s failure — were released on court’s order in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
More than 600 PTI leaders and workers were arrested last month for the party’s ‘Jail Bharo Tehreek’ (court arrest movement) which was against the “violation of fundamental rights, abuse of the Constitution and the economic meltdown in the country”.
Prominent leaders who were released from the jail included PTI vice chairman and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, former finance minister Asad Umar, ex-governor of Punjab Umar Sarfraz Cheema, Senators Azam Swati and Waleed Iqbal and Khan’s close aide Zulfi Bokhar.
The Lahore High Court on the PTI petition on Friday ordered the immediate release of the party’s leaders with the observation that they are not required in any criminal case.
Over 600 PTI men courted arrest from different cities across Punjab province after the movement kicked off on February 22 across the country.
The PTI said the sole purpose of its movement was to force the government to announce the election date as per the Constitution in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) provinces where assemblies were dissolved in January.
PTI chief Imran Khan announced calling off of the movement following the Supreme Court’s decision to hold the polls in both provinces in 90 days.
Following the Supreme Court’s order, President Arif Alvi announced this week that elections in Punjab for the provincial assembly will be held on April 30.
Several PTI workers turned up at different jails to receive the party leaders and showered rose petals on them.
Former foreign minister Qureshi said the 13 party-government cannot stop Imran Khan from returning to power.
Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan was ousted from power in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China, and Afghanistan.
The PTI chief came to power in 2018 and is the only Pakistani Prime Minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament.
Since his ouster, Khan has been clamouring for immediate elections to oust what he termed an “imported government” led by incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Sharif has maintained that elections will be held later this year once the parliament completes its five-year tenure.