On Sunday, Pakistani police said officers tried to detain former prime minister Imran Khan, who is battling several legal cases as he presses the government to hold snap elections.
Officers from Islamabad reached Syed Khan’s home in Lahore, which was surrounded by hundreds of his supporters, but were unable to find him.
“A team of Islamabad Police has arrived in Lahore to arrest Imran Khan in compliance with court orders,” Islamabad Police said in a tweet.
“Imran Khan is reluctant to give up – the superintendent of police went into the room but Imran Khan was not present there.”
The arrest warrant was issued after Mr. Khan failed to appear in court in a corruption case on February 28.
Imran Khan is accused of not making public the gifts he received during his time in office, or the profit made from their sale.
Government officials must declare all gifts but are allowed to keep those gifts below a certain value.
Imran Khan later spoke to party workers at his home in Zaman Park in Lahore, as the police remained outside.
“I am being summoned in fake cases and the nation should know about it,” he said.
“It would be a bad omen for the country if the nation did not stand up against the corrupt rulers.”
The deputy head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, which Khan leads, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, told reporters in Lahore: “We received a notice from the Islamabad police – the notice does not contain any arrest warrant.”
“We will consult with our lawyers and follow up on the legal process.”
Pakistani courts are often used to handcuff lawmakers in tedious and drawn-out procedures that human rights observers have criticized for stifling political opposition.
Imran Khan, who was killed during a rally last year, has tried to disrupt politics in the South Asian country since he was forced from office in a vote of no confidence in April.
He has been pushing for snap elections no later than October by staging protests, walking out of parliament and dissolving the two regional assemblies controlled by his party in a bid to force the government’s hand.
The country of more than 220 million people is in dire economic straits with hyperinflation, a shortage of foreign exchange reserves and stalled rescue talks with the International Monetary Fund.
To pull the country out of the maelstrom of crisis, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif is struggling to revive the next tranche of a $6.5 billion loan deal drawn up with the International Monetary Fund in 2019.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by the NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)
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