Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has accused the government of trying to remove him from upcoming elections, following an attempt by police to arrest him on corruption charges. The incident led to clashes between police and supporters of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party outside his home in Lahore. Speaking to Al Jazeera, Khan said the arrest warrant was “totally illegal” and politically motivated. He added that the government was “petrified” by the popularity of his party and wanted to remove him from the electoral contest. Khan also denied allegations that he had bought state gifts and concealed assets while in office.
Khan has been the subject of a number of legal cases in recent months, including charges of murder, sedition, blasphemy and terrorism. He has called for all the cases to be combined and heard in a secure location, citing concerns for his safety. Despite the legal challenges, Khan remains a popular figure in Pakistan and his party is expected to perform well in provincial and national elections.
The attempt to arrest Khan comes amid growing political tensions in Pakistan, which has seen a number of high-profile corruption cases in recent years. The country’s former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, was removed from office last year after being found guilty of corruption. Sharif’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), has accused the military of orchestrating his downfall and has called for fresh elections.
The military has denied interfering in politics, but its influence is widely felt in Pakistan. The country’s powerful military establishment has a history of intervening in politics and has been accused of manipulating elections in the past. Critics say that the military is seeking to maintain its grip on power by backing certain political parties and suppressing others.
The current government, led by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, is seen as being close to the military establishment. Abbasi took over from Sharif last year and is widely expected to step down after the upcoming elections. The PML-N is hoping to retain power, but faces stiff competition from Khan’s PTI and other opposition parties.
The election campaign has been marred by violence and allegations of vote-rigging. Several candidates have been killed in attacks by militants, while others have been disqualified from running due to corruption allegations. The government has vowed to ensure a free and fair election, but many observers remain sceptical.
Pakistan is a strategically important country in South Asia, with a population of over 200 million people. It is also a nuclear-armed state and a key ally of the United States in the fight against terrorism. The country faces a number of challenges, including poverty, corruption, terrorism and sectarian violence. The outcome of the upcoming elections will have significant implications for Pakistan’s future direction and stability.