Former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who faces corruption charges, told DW on Thursday there is an “unprecedented crackdown taking place” in Pakistan.
Speaking with DW’s Anja Kueppers-McKinnon, Khan said he believes he will soon be rearrested.
“7,500 of my workers have been arrested. All my senior leadership has been arrested. So what will happen? I don’t know. But I expect to be rearrested,” he said from Lahore.
Khan said it was done “in order to crush the party so that we don’t contest the election, this is why all of this is happening.”
Charges against Khan
Khan will not ignore a summons by the country’s anti-graft agency to appear before it on Thursday for questioning, his party spokesman told DW.
The summons comes after his arrest last week, on graft charges. The detention sparked violent clashes across the country in which at least 10 people were killed. He was freed from custody over the weekend after being granted protection from arrest in multiple legal cases against him.
Khan told DW he is facing 150 criminal cases ranging from corruption to terrorism.
“As someone who has been known in the country for 50 years, never committed one crime, suddenly, in the last few months, he has 150 cases, no one believes this,” he said.
When asked whether he would tell his supporters to refrain from further violence, Khan said the situation has significantly calmed since his release — but said that a crackdown is taking place against his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.
“There are no protests right now. There is no public disorder,” Khan said. “But what is happening is that there’s a crackdown, unprecedented crackdown, taking place.”
Police besiege Khan’s home
Punjab’s Information Minister Amir Mir said there were no plans to rearrest Khan. “All we want him to hand over the terrorists hiding at his home,” he told a news conference on Thursday.
Mir said intelligence and law enforcement agencies had identified that up to 40 people accused of attacking military installations during last week’s unrest were hiding at Khan’s home.
“It is absolute nonsense,” Khan told DW, responding to the accusations.
He said he invited journalists to his home, which led to a de-escalation with police.
“I said, come over to my house and see where the terrorists are. So that defused the situation because clearly there were no terrorists, so that’s when the police could not take action,” Khan said.
He said there were still police officers around his home, but far fewer than when they first deployed on Wednesday.