More clashes in Pakistan as police try to arrest Imran Khan

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Clashes between Pakistan’s police and supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan have continued into a second day outside his home in the eastern city of Lahore.

The unrest began after officers went to arrest him for failing to appear in court on corruption charges.

There have also been clashes between Mr Khan’s supporters and police in other major cities, including Karachi, Islamabad, the garrison city of Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Quetta and elsewhere in Pakistan.

Police have been firing tear gas since Tuesday at the house as the 70-year-old opposition leader’s supporters hurled rocks and bricks at the officers.

The upscale area of Zaman Park where Mr Khan lives remains under siege, with the government sending additional police to tackle the situation after hundreds of Mr Khan’s supporters showed unexpected perseverance.

Early on Wednesday, Mr Khan emerged from his house to meet with his supporters, who had faced tear gas and police batons through the night to save him from arrest.

He said he was ready to travel to Islamabad on March 18 under his arrest warrant, but police did not accept the offer.

The confrontation outside continued and later, Mr Khan posed for cameras seated at a long table, showing off piles of spent tear gas shells he said had been collected from around his home.

Imran Khan's house
Supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan chant anti government slogans as they gather outside his house in Lahore (AP)

Fawad Chaudhry, a senior party leader from Mr Khan’s party claimed on Wednesday that hundreds of Mr Khan’s supporters had been injured so far.

At the Islamabad High Court, Mr Khan’s lawyer Khawaja Haris and his team petitioned for the suspension of the arrest warrant for the former premier.

The court was expected to issue a ruling about the suspension later on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, about a dozen police and some 35 of Mr Khan’s supporters were reported injured as tear gas shells and pieces of bricks littered the pavement as the followers fought back with batons they had brought to resist police.

The Punjab provincial government said more than 100 police officers were injured in clashes with Mr Khan’s supporters. They denied the former premier’s allegation that officers were using live ammunition.

Mr Khan, who was ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament in April, was ordered to appear before a judge in Islamabad on Friday to answer charges of illegally selling state gifts he had received during his term as premier and concealing his assets.

Pakistan riot
A man scuffles with riot police officers in Lahore (AP)

Last week, he went to Islamabad to appear before three courts, but he failed to appear before the fourth court to face indictment in the graft case, which is a legal process for starting his trial.

Mr Khan has claimed that the string of cases against him, which includes terrorism charges, are a plot by the government of his successor, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, to discredit the former cricket star turned Islamist politician.

From his home, Mr Khan urged his followers on Tuesday to fight on even if he is arrested. “They think this nation will fall asleep when Imran Khan is jailed,” he wrote on Twitter. “You need to prove them wrong.”

On Wednesday, he tweeted that there was a plot “to abduct & assassinate” him.

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