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Pakistani policeman killed, ex-PM Khan supporters arrested

Pakistani policeman killed, ex-PM Khan supporters arrested

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan waves to his supporters during an anti-government rally, in Lahore, Pakistan, Apr 21, 2022. (Photo: AP/K.M. Chaudary)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's key opposition party led by recently ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan accused police of detaining hundreds of its supporters in raids that started early Tuesday (May 24). A policeman was killed during one of the raids, when a supporter of the former premier opened fire.

The police operation was an attempt to foil a planned protest seeking to force Pakistan's new government into calling early elections, the party said.

Fawad Chaudhry, a spokesman for Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf party, said police launched the operation shortly after midnight on Monday. Homes of the party's supporters were still being raided on Tuesday morning and at least 400 supporters from the party were arrested across the country, Chaudhry said.

Khan condemned the arrests on Twitter. Authorities confirmed the raids but refused to share details about any arrests.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah accused Khan of seeking to create a civil war-like situation. The minister confirmed a policeman was killed in one of the raids, when a Khan supporter opened fire on policemen who had entered his house in the city of Lahore.

Authorities stepped up security in the capital, Islamabad, deploying additional officers and paramilitary Rangers. Large shipping containers were placed on a key road leading to the parliament building, to prevent Khan's supporters from getting close and possibly staging a sit-in there.

Earlier this week Khan had urged his supporters to gather in Islamabad on Wednesday for a demonstration that he said would continue until the government announced a date for snap elections.

Khan, who served as prime minister for over three and half years, was ousted by a no-confidence vote in parliament in April. He was replaced as prime minister by Shahbaz Sharif.

Khan claims his removal was the result of a US-organised plot. Washington denies any role in Pakistan's internal politics.

Source: AP/nh


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