Police surrounded the home of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday as they accused him of harboring dozens of suspects involved in violent protests that erupted in response to his arrest on corruption charges. Photo by Rahat Dar/EPA-EFE
May 18 (UPI) -- Police on Thursday surrounded the home of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan as they accused him of harboring suspects wanted in violent protests that followed his arrest earlier this month.
Punjab Police shut down roads leading to Khan's residence as they said they may begin a "grand operation" to arrest the suspects after giving them a 24-hour window to surrender. Punjab Interim Information Minister Amir Mir said as many as 30 to 40 suspects have taken refuge on Khan's property.
"PTI should hand over these terrorists or the law will take its course," Mir said.
Leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party, or PTI, led protests around the country when Khan, their chairman, was arrested by paramilitary troops at the Islamabad Supreme Court earlier this month. The country's judiciary officials later ruled that Khan's arrest was illegal and ordered him released.
Khan on Thursday declined to appear in front of the National Accountability Bureau in connection with a corruption case brought against him on the advice of his attorneys.
Last week, Pakistan's ruling party filed a complaint against the chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Council, charging that they acted politically in favor of Khan.
Khan, who earned his fame as a popular, top-flight cricket player before turning to politics, was pushed out of office last year on corruption charges. He has fought those claims ever since and for the right to run for office again.
Khan posted a scathing message against current Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif and his government on Twitter.
"Nation has been taken over by a bunch of crooks, criminals, duffers devoid of any ethics or morality," Khan said on Thursday.
"While the country sinks into its worst economic crisis, especially unprecedented inflation and unemployment, all those in power are concentrating on how to crush the biggest and the only federal party by unleashing a reign of terror Time for all citizens to raise their voices before it's too late."