While Imran Khan makes his appearance in court, Pakistani police burst into his residence
In a standoff with the government that has resulted in violent skirmishes with his followers, the former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan showed up in court on Saturday as police were approaching his residence and after he voiced dread of being arrested.
Imran was defending himself in court in the nation's capital, Islamabad, against accusations of illegally selling state gifts given to him by foreign dignitaries while in office. He was defending himself against a number of legal challenges, including one that led to a failed attempt to have him arrested on Tuesday.
Imran claims that in order to get the presents, he obeyed the law.
The former cricketing great told Reuters hours earlier at his Lahore home that he had constituted a committee to head his party in the event of his detention.
After being removed from power last year, he organised rallies around the country and a number of lawsuits have been filed against him. On Tuesday, the police made an unsuccessful attempt to apprehend him.
Imran attended the Islamabad court after the police invaded his property. Police and Imran's followers got into a fight outside his house earlier this week during the arrest attempt.
Imran, who was shot and injured while campaigning in November, claimed in an interview the danger to his life is worse than before and alleged - without offering proof - that his political opponents and the military want to ban him from competing in elections later this year.
Requests for comment from the military and the administration were not immediately fulfilled.
The area around the courthouse as Imran, 70, came in a motorcade accompanied by fans was well guarded.
"Govt plans to have me arrested,"
The court had already issued arrest warrants for Imran in the case as he had failed to attend on prior sessions despite summons.
The court protected Imran from detention after receiving his guarantee that he would show up on Saturday, but he said he was afraid the government and police were planning to detain him.
"It is now obvious that the (Pakistan Democratic Movement coalition) government aims to arrest me despite the fact that I have always been granted bail. I am travelling to Islamabad and the court despite being aware of their malicious intents because I believe in the rule of law, Imran said on Twitter.
It is also clear at this point that the goal of the Lahore siege was to imprison me rather than to make sure I appeared in court for a case. This would prevent me from being able to oversee our election campaign.
The government was not involved in the police action, according to Pakistan's information minister, and the police were following court instructions.
Imran is accused of selling designer watches and other valuables handed to the state during his 2018–2022 time as prime minister, according to the case being tried on Saturday.
There have been reports of new altercations in Lahore between police and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters of Imran.
According to Punjab Information Minister Amir Mir, police had come outside Imran's home to gather information concerning assaults on police and those sought in other cases.
"The PTI activists attempted to block the police when they came by throwing stones at them and using baton strikes. Police detained many of them in retribution. The PTI leadership has previously been briefed by the police of the evidence gathering procedure, Mir claimed.