Islamabad, Mar 7 (EFE).- Imran Khan, the ousted prime minister of Pakistan, Tuesday missed a mandatory court appearance due to “security threats” to his life, according to his defense lawyer.
The decision not to appear in court may result in his arrest for failing to obey a subpoena in an alleged corruption case.
The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician has skipped three indictment hearings in Islamabad sessions court while recovering from bullet wounds sustained in an assassination attempt last year.
On Monday, Judge Zafar Iqbal rejected his plea to dismiss the arrest warrants issued last week.
“Khan has decided not to appear before the Islamabad court because of security threats to his life,” Azhar Siddique, the top lawyer of the defense team, told EFE.
The lawyer said his private security team informed him about the worsening security situation.
“Appearing before the court could expose Khan to the threat,” Siddique said.
He said Khan was aware of the legal implications of skipping the court proceedings.
The defense lawyer said Khan would file a petition at the Islamabad High Court to challenge a lower court order that dismissed his appeal to suspend his arrest order.
He said Khan would urge the court to allow him to appear via video link.
The Islamabad police served the arrest warrants to Khan Sunday and attempted to arrest him from his Lahore residence.
But cops who came to arrest the opposition leader were pushed back by hundreds of his supporters amid a deepening political crisis in the country.
The court issued arrest warrants against Khan in what is known as the Toshakhana or treasure-house case on charges of illegally selling state gifts given by foreign dignitaries and not declaring them in his assets declaration to the election commission.
The district and sessions court had ordered the police to arrest Khan and produce him before the court in a hearing over his continuous absence.
However, when police arrived to arrest him, the former prime minister fortified himself inside his house.
Hundreds of his party supporters surrounded the residence to stop the police from entering it.
Khan was ousted from office in a no-confidence vote in April last year.
He has accused the country’s all-powerful military of helping the then-opposition to remove him from power.
The former premier survived an assassination attempt on him in November last year. EFE