'… if they kill me': Imran Khan's video message as cops try to arrest ex-Pak PM
Pakistan, Imran Khan arrest: Former World Cup-winning cricketer is wanted on corruption charges in 'Toshakhana' case.
Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan posted a defiant video message Tuesday evening as determined supporters and police intent on arresting the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf chief waged a pitched battle at his home in the eastern city of Lahore. The popular leader called on his backers to challenge the ruling party of prime minister Shehbaz Sharif even if he were jailed.
"The police have arrived to arrest me. They think that if Imran Khan goes to jail, the people will go to sleep. You have to prove them wrong, you have to prove that the qaum (people) is alive."
"You have to fight for your rights, you have to hit the streets. God has given Imran Khan everything. I am fighting your battle. I have fought all my life and will continue to do so. But if something happens to me, they put me in jail or kill me, you have to prove that you can fight even without Imran Khan."
"You have to prove that you will never accept this slavery and this rule by one man. Pakistan zindabad," Khan said in a video statement posted on Twitter.
At least a few hundred supporters had gathered to intercept the police, government spokesman Amir Mir told Reuters, adding, "If Imran Khan ensures his presence in court, it will be good, otherwise law will take its course."
Mir also said paramilitary forces had been called in to control the situation.
Visuals circulated on social media showed a war zone-like situation in and outside the residential compound with police firing tear gas and water cannons.
Imran Khan's house Lahore attacked; cops fire teargas | WATCH
"They are shelling Imran Khan's house too… a leader who requested everyone to stay peaceful and patient. Democracy seems to be suspended…" PTI tweeted.
Khan's supporters - several of whom had covered their faces with pieces of cloth to protect against the tear gas – threw stones at and injured some policemen.
According to reports, top Islamabad cop Shahzad Bukhari, the Deputy Inspector General (Operations), was injured. He was seen being assisted by two officials. Both Khan's supporters and policemen were injured in the clashes.
READ | Imran Khan arrest: Pak police fire tear gas at PTI chief's Lahore house
PTI deputy chief Shah Mahmood Qureshi demanded to see the warrant for his boss' arrest; "Show me the warrant. I will first read and understand it. Then, I will speak to Imran Khan and my lawyers," he was quoted by media reports.
Qureshi was quoted by Reuters as saying Khan could not be arrested because ‘he has secured a protective bail from a high court’.
The police, though, said they were acting on an Islamabad court arrest warrant on charges that Khan had threatened a judge in one of his speeches last year.
The ex-PM has been embroiled in several court cases since he was ousted early last after a no-confidence vote. He also survived what was billed as an assassination attempt in November last year.
READ | Imran Khan opens up on assassination bid: '…very lucky to be alive'
Khan, who guided Pakistan to victory in the 1992 cricket World Cup - is also accused of buying gifts received as prime minister - at a discount - from the state depository, which is called the 'Toshakhana' and selling them for profit.
Pakistan is scheduled to vote in a general election later this year.
With input from agencies