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Pakistan: Arrest warrant against ex-PM Khan lifted

The arrest warrant for ex-Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has been lifted. The 70-year-old, who faces corruption charges, appeared in court in Islamabad today.

The court quashed the arrest warrant and adjourned the hearing until March 30, one of his attorneys said. Khan describes the allegations as politically motivated. Thousands of his supporters clashed with the police outside the courthouse.

After days of legal wrangling, Kahn traveled more than 300 kilometers from Lahore in eastern Pakistan to the capital, Islamabad. Several thousand Khan supporters gathered in front of the courthouse. Some of them attacked the police with stones. The security forces used tear gas against the demonstrators. The ex-prime minister could not get out of the car because of the collisions. The court nonetheless recognized his presence, Khan’s lawyers said.

Kahn feared arrest

An arrest warrant was out for Khan for failing to follow summonses to attend a court hearing in Islamabad. Instead, he retired to his residence in Lahore. When the police tried to arrest Khan there, there were serious clashes with his supporters. As a result, the arrest warrant was suspended, in return the former cricket star agreed to appear in court.

In a video message on the way to court, Khan said he expected to be arrested. He reiterated that the corruption case against him was politically motivated in order to deter him from a possible candidacy in the upcoming elections in October.

Around 4,000 police officers and other security forces were on duty due to the expected protests by Khan supporters in and around Islamabad. Hospitals were put on high alert. Police meanwhile raided Khan’s residence. Previously, she had closed all nearby roads in the upscale neighborhood of Lahore and blocked cellphone service in the area.

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