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Lahore High Court Halts Operation To Arrest Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan

Violence erupted across the country after police landed on Imran Khan's doorstep with an arrest warrant.

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The police operation to arrest former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been stopped – for now.

How come? The Lahore High Court directed law enforcement to stop the operation till 10am on Thursday, 16 March, according to Dawn.

There's more: The high court has summoned the Islamabad Police officer who was leading the operation, as well as the Punjab Police chief and provincial chief secretary.

  • The court's directions were issued while hearing a plea filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry

  • Chaudhry's petition sought peace after clashes erupted between PTI supporters and police across the country

The standoff: Islamabad Police, along with Punjab Police and Rangers, came to arrest Khan at his Zaman Park residence in Lahore on Tuesday evening, 14 March.

  • Clashes between PTI workers and the police were reported outside the residence

  • Party workers reportedly resorted to stone-pelting as police tried to disperse them through tear gas and water cannons

  • Several people were reportedly injured, including the Islamabad DIG and more than 100 police officers

  • Pakistan's Islamabad, Karachi, Quetta, and Rawalpindi also saw violence

Yes, but: The police personnel have pulled back from Khan's residence , Dawn reported.

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What they're saying: PTI chief Imran Khan accused Pakistan's Rangers of "firing straight into unarmed citizens at Zaman Park as if they are attacking an enemy force on the battlefield."

  • "Clearly "arrest" claim was mere drama because real intent is to abduct & assassinate," he further alleged

  • “The government has nothing to do with the arrest (of Khan), and the arrest has nothing to do with elections. The police is only complying with the orders of the court,” Pakistan Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb was quoted as saying by CNN

The backstory: On Monday, 13 March, an Islamabad sessions court issued non-bailable arrest warrants against Khan after he failed to appear in the Toshakhana case hearings.

  • He is accused of failing to disclose information on gifts presented to him while in office as well as the proceeds from the “illegal” sale of these gifts

  • Pakistan's Toshakhana department stores gifts received by government officials who must report such items to them, as per the rules

  • Besides the outstanding warrants, Khan has been barred by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from holding public office for five years.

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