Former Pakistani PM alleges assassination plot – Reuters

Imran Khan says arrest ordered by his country’s authorities has ‘bad faith intent’

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan says “real intention” of the police is “abduct and murder” after security forces attempted to arrest him on Wednesday despite resistance from hundreds of the politician’s supporters in the eastern city of Lahore.

Khan, 70, made the statement on social media amid clashes between police and supporters outside his residence, prompting authorities to deploy water cannons and tear gas. Police have since withdrawn from the scene after the clash after the Lahore High Court ordered authorities to halt the operation until 10 a.m. local time on Thursday.

“It is clear that the request for ‘arrest’ was only a drama, because the real intention is to abduct and murder”, he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. “Tear gas and water cannons, they now resort to live fire.”

He added: “There is no doubt about their intention of bad faith.”

Khan is wanted by authorities following the issuance of two non-releaseable arrest warrants for alleged corruption related to the sale of state gifts received during his tenure, as well as comments made about a woman judge.

Pakistani leader Tehreek-e-Insaf was ousted from power in Islamabad last year and has since been embroiled in legal disputes as he calls for snap elections in the country in a bid to return to political office.

However, Khan argued that the plot to arrest him is “not because I broke a law” but rather to ensure that he “cannot contest the elections.”

Khan, who survived an assassination attempt in November, has also been notified by authorities of another arrest warrant in recent weeks after missing scheduled court dates, with his legal advisers citing security concerns . The first attempt to arrest him failed, with police saying he was “reluctant to surrender”.

The dispute at the top of the political ecosystem in Islamabad comes amid the country’s severe economic downturn, which is expected to lead to financial default if help cannot be secured from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). There have also been a number of attacks at police stations that have been blamed on the Pakistani Taliban.

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