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Supporters of Imran Khan, police clash outside Islamabad courtroom

Supporters and security surround former prime minister and opposition head Imran Khan's vehicle during high court appearance in Lahore, Pakistan, on Friday. Clashes erupted during a subsequent court appearance Saturday in Islamabad. Photo by Rahat Dar/EPA-EFE
Supporters and security surround former prime minister and opposition head Imran Khan's vehicle during high court appearance in Lahore, Pakistan, on Friday. Clashes erupted during a subsequent court appearance Saturday in Islamabad. Photo by Rahat Dar/EPA-EFE

March 18 (UPI) -- Supporters of former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan clashed with security forces Saturday in Islamabad as the ousted leader was due to make a court appearance on corruption charges.

Video posted by police showed Khan's supporters pelting security forces with stones outside of the Islamabad Judicial Complex and setting fire to a barrier set up to keep the crowds at bay.

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Authorities fired teargas and accused Khan's supporters of similarly firing gas canisters.

"Our force is tackling the situation with patience," Islamabad police chief Akbar Nasir Khan told the Press Trust of India shortly before the former leader arrived in Islamabad from Lahore to appear before the court flanked by hundreds of his supporters.

Amid the scenes of chaos, Khan posted an audio message in which he claimed he was being prevented from entering the courtroom despite his best efforts to honor his commitment to appear before the court, where is to be indicted in connection with the "Toshakhana case."

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The hearing was later adjourned by District and Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal, who ruled that the situation had become untenable and that Khan could leave once his signature marking his attendance had been obtained, according to the Pakistani newspaper Dawn.

The clashes came the morning after Khan, 70, appeared in a Lahore courtroom to swear he would present himself before Iqbal for indictment in Islamabad.

Police had been attempting to arrest Khan, leader of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf political party, as he has repeatedly skipped out on earlier court appearances concerning allegations that he illegally sold gifts he received from foreign dignitaries during his time as prime minister for millions of dollars.

Similar clashes between police and supporters of embattled former prime minister erupted Wednesday in front of his Islamabad home as authorities attempted to take him into custody.

Khan is facing corruption counts after being accused of failing to disclose that he sold state gifts while serving as prime minister.

Khan was shot in the leg on Nov. 3, 2022, during a campaign rally, where he called to be included in future Pakistani elections. He was removed from office last year and banned from running for five years amid a fraud scandal.

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