Pakistan.- Government declares high alert in Islamabad ahead of Imran Jan’s expected court appearance

File – File image of a rally of supporters of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Jan. – Europa Press/Contacto/PPI

The Pakistani government has declared a state of high alert in the country’s capital, Islamabad, ahead of the imminent appearance of former Prime Minister Imran Jan in court to testify on a case of illicit enrichment, amid new clashes between police and his supporters during a search of the president’s residence in Lahore (Punjab) that has resulted in at least 20 arrests.

The authorities declared section 144 in the capital, which suspends the right of assembly, and ordered the mass deployment of the security forces before the arrival of the convoy of the former president, which was delayed after an accident during the journey involving several vehicles of the convoy, which did not leave any serious injuries, but the exact reasons are not known so far.

Jan’s appearance has not yet begun despite the fact that the usual court hours have ended, also due to the fact that the motorcade was held up for several minutes at an intersection near the Islamabad Judicial Complex, where the hearing will be held.

The Pakistani media regulatory authority, PEMRA, has banned live coverage of the former prime minister’s arrival while all hospitals in the capital have been placed under a state of emergency due to the possibility of serious unrest.

Fawad Chaudhry, secretary general of the Pakistan Justice Movement, the party of the former prime minister, has denounced the chaotic situation that the capital is going through right now, plagued by traffic cuts and agglomerations. »This looks like the Gaza Strip,» he lamented on Twitter.

NEW MORNING OF CHAOS The tensions began this morning when the agents carried out the search warrant for the former president’s home, issued yesterday by a court, using a crane to demolish the barricades set up by Jan’s supporters.

The search warrant was issued on Friday by the Lahore High Court as part of a new investigation into heavy clashes between his supporters and police on March 14 and 15, following a chaotic weekend in which security forces again tried unsuccessfully to arrest the former leader.

As soon as his convoy left, Jan launched a message on social networks in which he declared himself convinced that the police would end up arresting him one way or another during his stay in Islamabad.

As he has done on so many occasions, the former Pakistani prime minister has pointed to his political nemesis, also former head of government Nawaz Sharif, as responsible for his hardships. »Punjab Police have started an assault on my house while (his wife) Bushra is alone. Under what law are they doing that?», Jan has protested through his Twitter account.

The former prime minister has stated that »this is all part of the London Plan,» the city where Sharif now lives while appealing a sentence against him for corruption, »where Nawaz the fugitive hopes to return to power.» In an earlier video, Jan said: »I will appear in court knowing that I will be arrested, all because I believe in the rule of law,» reports Dawn.

In the so-called Toshakhana trial, Jan has been accused of hiding in his asset declarations details about some of the gifts he received during his time as prime minister between 2018 and 2022, when he was removed through a motion of censure in Parliament, in the beginning of an all-out battle between the former prime minister and the authorities who now rule the country.

This Saturday the deadline given by an Islamabad court to detain Jan for refusing to appear at previous hearings on this case expires in theory, but the former prime minister’s legal team is convinced that his attendance this Saturday occurs in full compliance with the court order.

In any case, the Toshakhana is one more of the dozens of open cases against Jan, some of them for possible crime of »terrorism» due to constant threats against the current authorities of the country, whom he considers complicit in his fall from grace, given the immense convening power that the former cricket star continues to enjoy.