ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Imran Khan on Sunday appealed to Pakistan’s judiciary to “save the country” a day after his supporters clashed with Punjab police ahead of his court appearance in Islamabad.
Khan supporters clashed with police for the second time in a week on Saturday as the ex-premier arrived at the judicial complex in Pakistan’s capital to attend proceedings of a case against him. The case relates to the sale of state gifts while Khan was prime minister.
Local media reports said police registered a terrorism case against more than a dozen members of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party members for vandalism at Islamabad’s judicial complex.
The court earlier this month issued Khan’s non-bailable arrest warrants in the case, but the former premier and his party managed to keep law enforcers from arresting him. After Saturday’s chaos in Islamabad, the trial court canceled the warrants and adjourned the proceedings till March 30.
In a video message to his supporters, the former prime minister blamed the government for “attacking” his house in Lahore’s Zaman Park area, vowing to take legal action against all police officers involved.
“I want to say this today to my judiciary, that this is a very big challenge for you,” Khan said. “I know all of these forces are on one side. I know these unidentified persons are putting all their pressure [on you]. But for God’s sake, save this country,” he added.
Khan said it was only up to the judiciary to save Pakistan.
“If they [police officers] knew they would be dealt with justice or would be held accountable, would they have done what they did,” he asked, referring to the police’s raid on his house.
Khan criticized caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Raza Naqvi, saying that he was doing everything in his power to delay elections.
“Has any caretaker government, in Pakistan’s history, ever done this?” Khan said. “Has any caretaker government ever resorted to such vindictive actions?“
Khan announced his party would hold a power show at Lahore’s Minar-e-Pakistan monument on Wednesday, urging people to show up to his gathering.
“Now we are holding [a public gathering] on Wednesday at Minar-e-Pakistan and I would want the entire Pakistan to watch. It would be a referendum to show you where the nation stands,” Khan said.
Responding to Khan’s statements, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said the former premier had attempted to undermine the judiciary by bringing an armed group of people to court.
“Is this the way, that you lead a group of 200 to 400 armed people to attack the judiciary so that the case against you can’t be heard,” Sanaullah said.
The minister vowed that Khan would be held accountable for his alleged corruption in the case involving the sale of state gifts when he was prime minister.