In LAHORE, Pakistan Officials in Pakistan reported that the former prime minister Imran Khan had been served with arrest warrants on Sunday to ensure his appearance in court on charges of misusing his office to sell state gifts, despite attempts by Khan’s supporters to block police entry to his home.
In October, Pakistan’s election commission found the 70-year-old former cricket hero turned politician guilty of illegally selling gifts from foreign dignitaries.
In response, the Federal Investigation Agency filed charges against Khan in an anti-graft court, which last week issued arrest warrants for him after he ignored repeated court summonses.
Khan has been calling for a snap election ever since he was removed from office in a parliamentary vote at the beginning of last year, but his successor Shehbaz Sharif has repeatedly stated that elections will be held in accordance with their previously established timeline later this year.
A gunman opened fire on him at one of his rallies last year, and he led a nationwide movement to demand an early election.
On Sunday, Khan said, “They (the police) know there is a threat against my life,” referring to his recent absence from court and the shooting incident, and adding that the courts did not provide sufficient security for him.
Khan’s aide Fawad Chaudhry claimed that his client was immune to arrest thanks to a high court protective bail.
An early election would be unpopular with the country’s young and urban voters, according to Chaudhry, who claimed the government was behind the former premier’s arrest in order to sow political chaos.
After Khan was unable to be located at his Lahore home, police in Islamabad issued a statement saying that they had served him with arrest warrants.
On March 7, Khan will have to answer to legal charges. Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has said that if he does not turn himself in, the police must arrest and bring him before a judge.