By: Kimberly Rodrigues
Former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan’s supporters vigorously defended him against the police’s attempts to arrest him. Despite the chaotic scene, the 70-year-old opposition leader maintained that he is a staunch believer in law and order.
“I believe in rule of law,” he told AFP inside his Lahore compound on Wednesday (15). After a nearly 24-hour standoff, the police finally ceased their siege on his residence, prompting jubilant celebrations from Khan’s followers, who showered pink petals on the cheering crowds outside.
The authorities sought to apprehend Khan for failing to appear in court regarding allegations that he neglected to disclose gifts he received during his 3.5-year tenure in office, as well as the earnings he generated from selling them.
Khan’s fervent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party followers, brandishing sticks and throwing stones, clashed with police while displaying green and crimson flags.
Khan was removed from his post as prime minister through a no-confidence vote in April of last year, resulting in political drama that coincided with natural disasters and economic troubles.
Subsequently, numerous charges were filed against him, which he believes were designed to prevent him from participating in the upcoming election.
While National Assembly elections are slated for no later than October, Khan insists that they should occur sooner.
“They want me in jail so that I cannot contest elections,” he told AFP.
“There were so many cases, they would have just kept me in jail. And the whole idea was to miss the elections.
“This abduction had nothing to do with rule of law,” he added.
“It’s the law of the jungle.”
Khan cites his personal safety as one of the reasons for his refusal to attend court, though the rationale seems to change with each telling.
“I don’t have an issue of going to court because none of the cases on me will stand,” he said.
He claims that no charges against him are legitimate under the current administration.
(With inputs from AFP)