ISLAMABAD (AP) – Pakistani police yesterday arrested scores more supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan for attacking officers over the weekend outside an Islamabad court where the ousted premier was to appear on graft charges, officials said.
The arrests were the latest amid legal cases facing Khan, now opposition leader, since his ouster in a no-confidence vote in Parliament last April. The standoff between the 70-year-old former cricket player turned politician, and the government of his successor Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has turned increasingly violent.
Yesterday’s arrests bring the total number of Khan’s followers detained in Islamabad to 198 since Saturday, when 59 were arrested in the Pakistani capital. Khan’s followers threw fire bombs and hurled rocks at the officers as riot police wielded batons and fired tear gas. More than 50 officers were injured and a police checkpoint, several cars and motorcycles were torched.
Also on Saturday, police stormed Khan’s residence in the eastern city of Lahore, arrested 61 suspects there and seized petrol bombs, weapons and ammunition after clashing with his supporters.
Khan was not at home, having travelled to Islamabad for the court appearance on charges he had sold state gifts received while in office and concealed assets.
After he failed to appear before the Islamabad court, the judge postponed that hearing until March 30.
Earlier last week, Khan’s residence in Lahore was the scene of two days of clashes between police and his followers when officers attempted to arrest Khan. The warrant was later suspended.