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Pakistan Court to Decide If Police Can Move to Arrest Imran Khan
By Staff, Agencies
Former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan is set to appear before a Lahore court to support a plea to cancel the warrant out for his arrest, Khan's aid said Friday as scores of Khan's supporters barricaded his home to protect him.
Ahead of the court decision, a tense calm prevailed in Khan's Lahore neighborhood which earlier this week was the scene of pitched battles between hundreds of supporters and security forces that had tried to force the former international cricketer to attend a hearing in a case in which he is accused of allegedly selling state gifts given to him while he was prime minister.
Even though there was no police presence on Friday, witnesses said Khan's supporters, armed with batons and iron rods, remained stationed outside his home.
Khan's aide Fawad Chadhury said his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, had filed another plea on Friday at the Islamabad High Court to suspend the warrant after a lower court rejected a similar plea a day earlier.
"Our supporters are outside Imran Khan's house but I don't think matters will become extreme," he added.
Police are waiting for the court ruling on the warrant before taking any action, the provincial government's information minister Amir Mir said.
The violence on Tuesday and Wednesday, in which protesters hurled petrol bombs and security forces used tear gas and water cannon, had raised fears of a new political stand-off in nuclear-armed Pakistan, which is already grappling with an economic crisis.
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