Lahore, March 5: PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday dodged arrest as Islamabad Police showed up at his Zaman Park residence in Lahore with court summons to take him into custody for his persistent absences from Toshakhana court hearings, media reports said.

The 70-year-old former Prime Minister, who has been recovering from a gunshot injury from an assassination attempt last year, has thrice skipped indictment hearings in an Islamabad sessions court in the case, Dawn reported. Toshakhna Case: Islamabad Police Reaches Lahore To Arrest Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan.

When the Islamabad Police along with their Punjab Police counterparts arrived at Imran Khan's residence just after noon on Sunday, they found a horde of PTI supporters along with party leaders, and were informed that the PTI chief was "unavailable", it said.

With PTI workers outnumbering the police contingent, and despite Islamabad police chief earlier saying that they won't go back empty-handed, the arrest could not be made.

As Imran Khan's whereabouts were debated upon, he ended the hours-long mystery by addressing a televised party event right from the Zaman Park residence. Addressing the crowd of PTI loyalists, he said he had never "bowed before any man or institution, and will never let you do so as well". Pakistan Court Issues Non-Bailable Arrest Warrant Against Imran Khan in Toshakhana Case.

Imran Khan said he had called the public to Zaman Park to pay tribute to them for the way they participated in the 'Jail Bharo Tehreek' (court arrest movement). "I did not call you for my support but to thank you," he added, Dawn reported.

He is accused of concealing, in his assets declarations, details of the gifts he retained from the Toshakhana - a repository where presents handed to government officials from foreign officials are kept. Officials are legally allowed to retain gifts provided they pay a pre-assessed amount, typically a fraction of the value of the gift, Dawn reported.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, the Islamabad Police said an operation to arrest Imran was being conducted with the cooperation of the Lahore police. It stated that the PTI chief was "avoiding" arrest, adding that the Superintendent of Police had "gone into Imran's room but he was not present there", Dawn reported.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Mar 05, 2023 11:46 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website