Pakistan ex-PM Imran Khan refuses to allow police search
The former prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has refused to allow police to search his home, saying that they must be supervised. Khan earlier appeared in court to seek protection from arrest.
Pakistan remained tense on Friday as former Prime Minister Imran Khan refused to allow police to search his house, laying out his terms for any such operation.
Hundreds of police officers were deployed around Khan's home in eastern Lahore ahead of the planned search for suspects said to be involved in attacks on state and army buildings earlier this month.
What are the latest developments?
Police, along with government officials, had earlier arrived at the former prime minister and international cricket star's home.
Agreeing on the terms of the search was part of the latest wrangle between Khan and authorities, amid deepening political instability in the country of 220 million people.
Police allege that Khan was sheltering between 30 to 40 suspects linked to the violence and had threatened to raid the premises under a court order to detain them. However, authorities said they would only start the search for suspects after agreeing on terms and conditions.
Khan has refused to allow a search until his stipulations are met. He said he feared that, if unsupervised, police might plant weapons and that a search could only be conducted by a panel set up by a high court. He also said a female officer should accompany the team.
The 70-year-old's home, in the Zaman Park neighborhood of Lahore, was a site of battles between his supporters and police who had tried to arrest him in March for not showing up in court.
At least 10 people died in the unrest, which only receded after Khan's release was ordered by Pakistan's Supreme Court.
Khan was released from arrest last week and he returned home to Lahore.
While police have sought Khan on charges of inciting supporters of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party to violence, he denies the allegation given that he was in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau at the time. That agency had arrested him as part of a corruption case. Khan has also faced charges under the country's anti-terrorism laws over protests he is alleged to have incited last year.
Khan appeared conciliatory as he condemned the violence before an anti-terrorism court in Lahore, where he was seeking protection from arrest in multiple terrorism cases. The judge granted him protection from arrest in three terrorism cases until early June.
Background of political turmoil
After he was forced from power in a no-confidence vote by lawmakers, Khan has faced multiple corruption charges in Pakistani courts.
The former international cricket star was indicted on claims that he unlawfully sold state gifts while serving as prime minister from 2018 to 2022. His arrest was based on a new warrant for a separate corruption case related to property.
Khan and his supporters claim the proceedings are politically motivated.
Khan's arrest and the subsequent violence have exacerbated Pakistan's political turmoil at a time of deepening economic woes. Authorities are also facing an uptick in militant attacks.
Sirajul Haq, the leader of Pakistan's key Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami party, narrowly escaped a suicide attack in Zhob, in the southwestern province of Balochistan on Friday, police said. The bomber detonated explosives strapped to his waist while Haq was entering the district as part of a car convoy.
Although Haq was said to be safe, five people were wounded in the attack.
While was no immediate claim for the bombing, militants and other armed groups have for decades staged attacks in Balochistan — a region stretching across the borders of Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan which has a nationalist independence movement.