The police in Pakistan surrounded former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s house in Lahore ahead of his possible arrest in the Toshakhana case. Hundreds of Mr Khan’s supporters gathered outside the house after a police team arrived from Islamabad to arrest him on a court order, according to news agency Reuters. If he is arrested, it will be a big blow for his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Mr Khan faces 37 cases across Pakistan, including those filed by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
What is the Toshakhana case?
A non-bailable warrant has been issued against Mr Khan, 70, for concealing, in his assets declarations, details of the gifts he retained from the Toshakhana – the treasury where presents handed to government officials from foreign officials are kept. The case is known as the Toshakhana reference case.
Mr Khan is accused of earning $36 million from selling three watches gifted to him. He allegedly never deposited some gifts in the treasury, violating the rule as a Prime Minister in Pakistan is allowed to retain the gifts only after paying a certain amount.
The Islamabad High Court had last week suspended the arrest warrant issued by a district and sessions court against the PTI chairman till March 13.
Other cases against Imran Khan
In January this year, Pakistan’s Election Commission issued bailable arrest warrants against Mr Khan and other top leaders of his party in a contempt case. The case is based on statements issued by top PTI leaders against the poll body and Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja.
The election watchdog had issued notices against them in August and September last year in the exercise of its powers of contempt after the PTI leaders repeatedly bashed the commission and Raja over what they claim is their partisan policy and their alleged favouring of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
He is also in trouble for failing to attend the court hearing of a case linked to protests outside the election commission. PTI workers staged a protest after Mr Khan was disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the prohibited funding case last year.
The investigation in the case started in October last year, when an FIR was registered against the former Pakistan PM for allegedly receiving prohibited foreign funding.
According to Dawn, Wooton Cricket Limited owner Arif Masood Naqvi transferred “ill-gotten” money to one of the accounts of Mr Khan’s party. He is accused of violating the provisions of Pakistan’s Foreign Exchange Act by receiving suspicious financial transfers.
Mr Khan is facing another arrest warrant for allegedly threatening a female judge Zeba Chaudhry. The outburst came after the judge approved the remand of Mr Kahn’s aide, Shahbaz Gill.
At a rally in October 2022, charges under Pakistan’s anti-terrorism act were slapped against the PTI chief for his remarks at a rally where he threatened to file cases against his political opponents and top police officials. However, the stringent charges were dropped after the Islamabad high court intervened.
In August last year, the cricketer-turned-politician was accused of violating Section 144 by organising a rally in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad.
Pakistan’s former information and broadcasting minister earlier released a litigation status report, which said that Mr Khan himself is a petitioner in 19 cases that have been filed against government departments and individuals.
The report also said that 21 FIRs are registered against the former PM out of which 11 were registered on a single day – May 25, 2022 – while eight were registered on May 26. The remaining three FIRs were registered on August 8.
Mr Khan has filed two cases against the Election Commission of Pakistan while two are registered against him in the Islamabad High Court, according to news agency ANI.