Pakistan court suspends arrest warrant for ex-premier

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan

KARACHI, Pakistan : A Pakistani high court suspended an arrest warrant for former Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday in a case related to the illegal purchase and sale of gifts given by foreign dignitaries while he was in office, a court record said.

A single-judge bench of the Islamabad High Court comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq ordered the police to not arrest Khan until March 13.

The court also ordered the former premier to appear before the concerned court on March 13 in the foreign gifts case.

An Islamabad court last week issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for Khan in the case for consistently skipping the hearings.

Police on Sunday tried to arrest Khan but failed amid resistance from his supporters in the northeastern city of Lahore, where he is currently lodged after escaping an assassination attempt in November last year.

Khan, 70, the country’s only premier who was ousted through a no-confidence vote in Pakistan’s 75-year checkered political history, is facing a slew of cases against him ranging from terrorism to attempted murder and to money laundering.

Most of the cases, which Khan dubs a “sham,” have been lodged after his ouster.

He was deposed as prime minister after parliament passed a no-confidence vote in April last year.

Khan blames his unceremonious ouster on a US-backed conspiracy, an allegation that the incumbent coalition government in Islamabad and Washington have repeatedly refuted.

He narrowly escaped assassination while leading an anti-government long march towards Islamabad last November. Since then, he has been residing at his residence in Lahore and has frequently skipped court hearings on health and security grounds. — AA


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