Police in Pakistan said authorities on Sunday attempted to arrest former prime minister Imran Khan, who is battling multiple legal cases as he pressures the government to call early elections.
Officers from Islamabad rushed to Mr Khan’s home in Lahore, surrounded by hundreds of his supporters, but were unable to find him.
“A team of Islamabad Police has reached Lahore to arrest Imran Khan in compliance of court orders,” Islamabad Police said in a tweet.
“Imran Khan is reluctant to surrender – the Superintendent of Police went to the room but Imran Khan was not present.”
The arrest warrant was issued on February 28 after Khan failed to appear in court in a corruption case.
Imran Khan has been accused of failing to declare gifts received during his tenure or profit from their sale.
Government officials must declare all gifts, but are allowed to keep them below a certain value.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi, vice-president of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, told reporters in Lahore, “We have received a notice from the Islamabad police – there is no arrest order in the notice.”
“We will consult our lawyers and follow the legal process”.
Pakistan’s courts are often used to tie up lawmakers in tedious and lengthy proceedings, which rights monitors have criticized for stifling political opposition.
Imran Khan, who was shot during a rally last year, has attempted to disrupt politics in the South Asian nation since he was voted out of office in April in a no-confidence vote.
He has been pushing for early elections by October by staging protests, pulling out of parliament and dissolving two provincial assemblies controlled by his party in a bid to force the government’s hand.
The nation of more than 220 million is in dire economic straits with hyperinflation, meager foreign exchange reserves and stalled bailout talks with the IMF.
To get the country out of its rut, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is battling to revive the next tranche of a $6.5 billion loan deal sketched with the International Monetary Fund in 2019.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
featured video of the day
BJP’s power play in Rajasthan before assembly elections