April 1, 2023

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan has accused the Pakistani authorities of attempting to get him out of the best way to contest the elections after dozens of his supporters have been arrested and injured in a police crackdown on an election rally in Lahore.

khan referred to as off a rally of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) within the japanese metropolis, the capital of the Punjab province, after the police used tear gasoline and water cannon on his supporters for defying a authorities ban on public gathering.

“The federal government and its backers are fearful of elections as a result of to this point within the final eight months, out of the 37 byelections, my get together has gained 30 out of them,” Khan advised Al Jazeera on Tuesday.

“They wish to both arrest or disqualify me as a result of they’re scared [of the fact] that my get together is likely one of the hottest in Pakistan’s historical past,” he mentioned from his residence in Lahore.

The PTI was scheduled to carry a rally to kick off its campaigning for the provincial election set for April 30. However authorities banned the occasion just some hours earlier than it was as a result of begin “to avert any untoward incident”, native media reported.

“Police had given permission and accredited the route of the rally, however instantly this morning the permission was taken away. Heavy contingent of police was deployed and other people coming to attend peaceable rally have been hit with tear gasoline shells and water cannon,” the previous prime minister mentioned.

Police officers detain a supporter of former Prime Minister Imran Khan in Lahore.
Cops detain a supporter of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, throughout clashes earlier than an election marketing campaign rally, in Lahore, Pakistan March 8, 2023 [Mohsin Raza/Reuters]

Khan has claimed Occasion supporter Ali Bilal was killed whereas in police custody. Al Jazeera couldn’t verify the veracity of the declare and the police have but to verify the demise.

Imtiaz Gul, government director of the Middle for Analysis and Safety research, referred to as the police crackdown on opposition supporters as “pointless and brutal”.

“There was an enormous police deployment to attempt to stop PTI staff from attending the rally.

“There are all of the indications that the federal authorities is attempting to delay the elections within the provinces of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” Gul mentioned talking from Islamabad.

Polls in Punjab, in addition to in neighboring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – due on April 30 – have been introduced after the dissolution of the provincial assemblies of each areas which collectively account for 70 % of the nation’s inhabitants.

The 2 assemblies have been ruled by Khan’s PTI get together. Khan had referred to as for his or her dissolution in a bid to pressure early nationwide elections in Pakistan that are scheduled for October.

The federal government of his successor, Shehbaz Sharif, has dismissed Khan’s calls for, saying the vote will happen as scheduled later within the yr.

“It’s clear that the federal government doesn’t need elections,” Khan advised Al Jazeera, including that he referred to as off the rally for worry that his supporters’ lives have been at risk.

Police officers detain a supporter of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan in Lahore.
Cops detain a supporter of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan in Lahore [KM Chaudary/AP photo]

‘My life is underneath menace’

In April final yr, Khan, 70, turned the one Pakistani prime minister to be faraway from energy by a no confidence vote inparliament. He’s going through a slew of instances towards him starting from “terrorism” and tried homicide to cash laundering since dropping energy.

Khan dismissed all of the instances as “frivolous” saying that the accusations are “only one extra solution to have me out of the best way to contest the elections”.

“Is only a query on how do you take care of 76 instances – what number of court docket appearances do you make?” Khan mentioned, stressing that he needed to cease exhibiting as much as court docket as a result of accidents suffered from an assassination try.

“For 4 months I had three bullets in my legs so I couldn’t stroll,” he mentioned.

Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan run for cover as police fire tear gas shells.
Supporters of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan run for canopy as police hearth tear gasoline shells to disperse them in Lahore [KM Chaudary/AP Photo]

Khan has been dwelling in Lahore since November when he was shot within the leg by a gunman throughout a protest rally. Since then, he has traveled to Islamabad solely as soon as – final week – for court docket appearances in different instances towards him.

Khan mentioned that he has repeatedly requested for safety throughout his court docket appearances, however it was by no means granted.

“My life is underneath menace as a result of the individuals who tried to assassinate me are in energy… The query is how do I marketing campaign and safe and secure setting? How do I am going to the courts? I made three court docket appearances and sadly there was simply no safety there,” he added.

Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif has Denied that he was behind the assassination try on Khan.

On Tuesday, the Islamabad Excessive Court docket suspended an arrest warrant towards Khan in a case associated to the alleged unlawful buy and sale of items given to him by international dignitaries whereas he was in workplace.

A single-judge bench of the court docket ordered the police to not arrest Khan till March 13. The court docket additionally ordered the previous prime minister to look earlier than the involved court docket on March 13 within the international items case.

Police on Sunday tried to arrest Khan from his residence in Lahore, however the cricketer-turned-politician evaded them.

Police officers fire tear gas shells to disperse the supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan in Lahore.
Cops hearth tear gasoline shells to disperse the supporters of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan in Lahore [KM Chaudary/AP Photo]

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