Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan attended a highly anticipated trial in the capital Islamabad on Saturday and left after the scheduled proceedings.
Clashes broke out in Islamabad between Khan supporters and police as Khan tried to break into the capital’s Supreme Court. Clashes also broke out in the city of Lahore.
An arrest warrant was issued against Khan on Monday, forcing him to appear in court on Saturday. After a week of clashes across the country, all arrest warrants against Khan were suspended on Friday after Khan pledged to appear in court.
On Saturday, the capital’s authorities issued an order making any gathering of more than four people an unlawful crime. Khan left the city of Lahore early Saturday morning to reach Islamabad by road. He traveled with a convoy of hundreds of supporters.
A high-security judicial complex was assigned for Khan’s crackdown on the outskirts of the capital, with hundreds of riot police stationed in the area. Islamabad police said in a tweet that Khan’s supporters “began pelting stones at the police” upon arrival at the complex, to which the police responded with tear gas.
Khan made his appearance after waiting five hours to enter the court complex.
In an audio message Khan sent to journalists, Khan said he had been “waiting outside the door [judicial complex’s] door” and had “fully tried to get in” but the use of tear gas by the police suggests that “they don’t want” him to reach the court.
Separately in the city of Lahore, Khan’s residence was raided by police with bulldozers removing camps set up by supporters of Imran Khan. The interior minister Rana Sanaullah said in a press conference that the police operation at Khan’s house was carried out to “clear no-go areas” and “arrest thugs hiding inside”.
Khan’s team claimed that only Khan’s wife and domestic servants were present at the residence when the raid took place.