A Pakistani court has postponed police action against Imran Khan until Friday

On Thursday, Khan’s aide Fawad Chaudhry said the Lahore High Court had extended the decision to suspend the police operation for another day. State Information Minister Amir Mir confirmed the court’s decision.

The court also ordered Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party not to hold its planned election rally in Lahore on Sunday, when the city will host the final match of the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) Twenty20 cricket tournament.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, dozens of Khan’s supporters, armed with clubs and slingshots, barricaded his home to prevent security forces from arresting him for failing to appear in court in a case in which he is accused of illegally selling government gifts. when he was the prime minister. Khan denies the allegations.

An attempt to arrest Khan under a court order, which began on Tuesday, has sparked clashes between his supporters and security forces in his Lahore district, raising fears for political stability in nuclear-armed Pakistan as it faces an economic crisis.

The violence, in which protesters torched police vehicles, a sprinkler truck, scores of cars and motorcycles and hurled petrol bombs at security forces, firing tear gas and rubber bullets, subsided after the Supreme Court stayed the police operation on Wednesday.

The situation in Lahore’s Zaman Park neighborhood was calm on Thursday, with television images showing a large number of PTI workers gathered outside Khan’s residence, some of them carrying batons.

The road leading to Khan’s residence was blocked with large containers as PTI workers guarded his entry. Internet and mobile connection, which was disrupted for two days, was restored.

A lower court in Islamabad has ordered former international cricketer Khan to defy a court order accusing him of illegally selling government gifts given to him by foreign dignitaries when he was prime minister from 2018 to 2022. Khan denies the allegations. .

The Election Commission of Pakistan found Khan guilty and banned him from public office for one parliamentary term.

The legal process against Khan began after he was ousted in a parliamentary vote early last year. Since then, he has been demanding the holding of extraordinary elections, holding nationwide protests, and in one of those rallies, he was shot and injured.

Incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif rejected Khan’s demands, saying elections would be held as scheduled later this year.

In January, Khan’s party decided to dissolve the legislative assemblies in the provinces of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which it controlled, to put more pressure on the government to call national elections. Pakistan historically holds state and national elections together.

Earlier this month, the Election Commission announced April 30 as the polling date in Punjab, while the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor said he had proposed May 28 as the polling day in his state.

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