Pakistan police officials on Saturday entered Imran Khan’s residence in Lahore and allegedly baton-charged his supporters as he was appearing in court in capital Islamabad, according to local media reports.
Khan said in a tweet that his wife was at the property. He was appearing in court after expressing fear of arrest.
Videos shared by several media organisations and journalists showed police baton-charging people inside Mr Khan’s residence. This comes days after riot police fired tear gas to disperse his supporters during clashes in Lahore as officers tried to arrest the ousted premier for failing to appear in court on graft charges.
Journalist Ihtisham Ul Haq tweeted: “Police started beating Khan’s workers and personal house staff at his residency at Zaman Park.”
Earlier, Mr Khan told Reuters that he formed a committee to lead his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party if he is arrested.
The former cricket legend led country-wide protests after his ouster from power last year and has had a spate of cases registered against him. The police unsuccessfully tried to arrest him last week, leading to intense clashes with his party workers.
“I have made a committee which will obviously take decisions once – if – I’m inside” jail, the 70-year-old said in an interview in his Lahore home before heading to Islamabad early on Saturday. He said there were 94 cases against him.
Mr Khan was addressing charges in the court of unlawfully selling state gifts given to him by foreign dignitaries while in office. Security was tight around the judicial complex where Mr Khan, 70, arrived in a motorcade surrounded by supporters.
The court previously issued arrest warrants for him in the case as he had failed to appear on previous hearings despite summons.
Mr Khan, who was shot and wounded while campaigning in November, said the threat to his life is greater than before and asserted – without providing evidence – that his political opponents and the military want to block him from standing in elections later this year.
The military and government did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.