A massive protest was staged by supporters of former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan outside his residence in Lahore where police arrived on Sunday to arrest him in connection with the Toshakhana case. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf supremo took to Twitter to launch a scathing attack against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and General Bajwa, calling them “crooks” and accusing them of corruption.
“What future can a country have when crooks are thrust as rulers upon it? SS (Shehbaz Sharif) was about to be convicted by NAB for Rs 8 bn money laundering & by FIA for another Rs 16 bn corruption when he was rescued by Gen Bajwa who kept getting NAB cases trial postponed. While under trial he was made PM. He has since proceeded to select heads of those institutions investigating his cases - first FIA & now NAB - simply to get his name permanently cleared in Rs 16 bn corruption & Rs 8 bn money laundering cases against him. This is how a country becomes a banana republic,” Khan tweeted amid news that he was likely to be arrested today.
made PM. He has since proceeded to select heads of those institutions investigating his cases - first FIA & now NAB - simply to get his name permanently cleared in Rs 16 bn corruption & Rs 8 bn money laundering cases against him. This is how a country becomes a banana republic.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) March 5, 2023
The Islamabad Police conveyed on Twitter that a team of police officials had arrived at Khan’s Zaman Park residence in Lahore to arrest him and as per court orders, will transfer him to Islamabad under their protection.
The police, however, could not arrest him as they could not find him at the house.
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
Meanwhile. PTI senior vice president Fawad Chaudhry took to Twitter to react to the reports of the arrest and warned of a worsening situation in the country if the government moves against the former prime minister.
“Any attempt to arrest Imran 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 tweeted. He also shared a video, posted by a Pakistani journalist, of the protest outside Khan’s residence.
زمان پارک کی موجودہ صورتحال تحریک انصاف کے کارکن پرجوش۔۔۔ pic.twitter.com/h3EMHjQ0N5— Anas Gondal (@AnasGondal19) March 5, 2023
On February 28, a Pakistani court issued an arrest warrant for former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case but granted bail in two other cases. The court said Khan had skipped a hearing on charges of selling state gifts and concealing his assets.
The case pertains to allegations that Khan received expensive gifts from rich Arab rulers during official visits that were deposited in the state repository Toshakhana. Later, he bought those at slashed rates following the law and further sold them at hefty profits. He was accused of hiding the proceeds from the sale of precious gifts.
In his statement to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Khan declared the gifts had been procured from the state treasury for Rs 21.56 million and sold for Rs 58 million. The gifts included a Graff wristwatch, a pair of cufflinks, an expensive pen, a ring, and four Rolex watches.
He was also disqualified by the ECP from holding public office in October 2022, becoming the only Pakistani Prime Minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament. He had challenged his disqualification and denied wrongdoing.