LAHORE: Some plain-clothes men raided the house of the focal person on digital media of former prime minister Imran Khan, Dr Arslan Khalid, and took away a laptop and some mobile phones in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Dr Khalid had already left his Wapda Town house in view of the expected raid, an official source said, adding that the action by personnel of a law enforcement agency was taken on the allegation that he had been running a social media campaign against a state institution.
However, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s official Twitter handle strongly rejected the allegation and stated that Dr Khalid had never abused anyone on social media and never attacked any institutions. Declaring it “disturbing news’, the PTI tweeted that Dr Khalid’s house had been raided and all phones from his family had been taken away.
The family members of the PTI blogger were unaware about the identity of those behind the raid probably for his arrest.
Gill says he alerted Dr Khalid to relocate before raid
The Lahore police high-ups and the Federal Investigation Agency made it clear they had nothing to do with the ‘raid’, explaining the matter didn’t fall in police domain.
“The raid was not carried out by police on the house of Dr Khalid,” Lahore Capital City Police Officer Fayyaz Ahmad told Dawn.
However, the official source said the men who carried out the raid were in plainclothes. After being unable to find him in the house, they questioned Dr Khalid’s family about his whereabouts, he said.
The incident went viral on the social media when some PTI leaders raised voice declaring the raid sheer violation of human rights.
Former PM’s aide Dr Shahbaz Gill said he had already alerted Dr Khalid about his possible arrest. He tweeted that as the raid was anticipated, Dr Khalid was sent somewhere else. “All I have to tell you is that Arsalan Khalid is a patriot and he has to live in this country. We anticipated that you would do this so last night I spoke to him and sent him somewhere else from his house. The laptops and mobiles you have taken have nothing else, but professional work,” Dr Gill claimed.
The raid drew reaction from PTI leaders including Asad Umar, Shafqat Mehmood and Dr Shireen Mazari.
“Raid on Dr Arslan Khalid’s house is highly condemnable. The patriotic youth like Dr Arslan are an asset for the nation,” tweeted ex-minister Asad Umar.
Mr Mehmood tweeted: “Distressed to learn that Dr Arsalan’s house was raided and his family harassed”.
Dr Mazari, however, said the raid was not surprising, “because ‘deep-seated’ intolerance for criticism leads to irrational rage. But criticism on social media is often spontaneous unlike coups”.
Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2022