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Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan greeted his supporters outside his home after Pakistani security forces withdrew from around his home on Wednesday. There had been violent protests earlier as police tried to arrest him. Police and other security personnel were seen leaving the Lahore neighbourhood where Khan’s home is located. The Lahore High Court, on Wednesday, ordered police to postpone the arrest of Khan until Thursday.

Following the withdrawal, Khan was seen standing outside his home, wearing a transparent gas mask and talking to supporters. He addressed the people present and also took pictures with them. Earlier, the police had fired tear gas and water cannons at hundreds of protesters who had gathered as the police tried to arrest Khan. 

“The police and rangers sent to harm Imran Khan were pushed back by the people,” his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party Twitter account posted.

My house has been under heavy attack since yesterday afternoon. Latest attack by Rangers, pitting the largest pol party against the army. This is what PDM and the enemies of Pakistan want. No lessons learnt from the East Pakistan tragedy. pic.twitter.com/SBcrCcYEo5

— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) March 15, 2023

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Officials have reportedly paused the efforts to arrest Imran Khan. A BBC report quotes Punjab Interim Information Minister Amir Mir as saying that the operation to detain Khan was causing major traffic disruptions and affecting a cricket tournament that was to happen nearby. This is why it was halted. Mir added that the operation to arrest Imran will resume after the final of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) on March 19.

“We can’t afford to risk the security and safety of the PSL,” a senior police official told Reuters. 

A lower court in the capital Islamabad issued a warrant against him for defying orders to present himself in court over charges that he unlawfully sold state gifts given to him by foreign dignitaries when he was prime minister from 2018 to 2022.

(With inputs from agencies)

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