The attack took place as Imran Khan was on his way to court to face charges of illegally selling state gifts.
Pakistani police officers raided the home of former Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday as he was on his way to the capital, Islamabad, to appear in court in a corruption case. The attack turned violent when police clashed with Khan’s supporters.
Images shared on social media show officers breaking down the front door of the former prime minister’s residence in Lahore, in the east of the country. Another clip posted by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party on Twitter appears to show police brutally beating his supporters with sticks and batons.
The worst kind of torture in Zaman Park right now. If something happens, you’re going to paint it as an accident again!? #Let’s go with Imran pic.twitter.com/5S45UDVvMZ
— PTI (@PTIofficial) March 18, 2023
Pakistani officials say 30 people were arrested during the attack, as they moved to remove a blockade set up by Khan’s supporters near his home. Suhail Sukhera, the officer in charge of the operation, said the activists resisted by throwing stones and Molotov cocktails.
“Punjab police have led a raid on my house in Zaman Park, where Bushra Begum is alone. Under what law are they doing this?” the former prime minister tweeted in reference to his wife.
He also claimed that the beating was carried out, not to ensure that he would appear in court, “but it was intended to take me to prison so that I could not lead our election campaign”.
READ MORE: The Pakistani High Court suspends the former prime minister’s arrest warrant
The attack came after several days of clashes with Khan’s supporters at the house, as police tried to arrest the embattled politician for failing to appear in court. However, the arrest warrant was later stayed by the High Court of Pakistan.
In a tweet on Saturday, Khan claimed that the government intended to arrest him. He added that “despite knowing their malafide intentions, I am going to Islamabad and the court because I believe in the rule of law.”
Khan, who became prime minister in 2018, was ousted in 2022 in a no-confidence vote and is embroiled in dozens of legal disputes. Among other things, he is accused of illegally selling state gifts valued at about 2 million dollars that were given to him by foreign dignitaries while he was in office. He has denied the accusations, claiming they are politically motivated.