Punjab police dismantle gate to break into Imran’s house

Published March 19, 2023
Riot police enter the residence of Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan, in Lahore on March 18, 2023, after Khan left for Islamabad to appear in a court.— Photo by Arif Ali/AFP
Riot police enter the residence of Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan, in Lahore on March 18, 2023, after Khan left for Islamabad to appear in a court.— Photo by Arif Ali/AFP

• Ex-PM’s sister, wife were inside when police raided ‘without warrants’
• Several hurt as PTI supporters, police clash
• Police claim seizing weapons
• 61 party workers held

LAHORE: Heavy machinery was used by the Punjab police to break into the Zaman Park residence of Imran Khan on Saturday soon after the PTI chairman left for Islamabad to attend hearing in the Toshakhana case, and his wife and sister were inside the house.

Talking to reporters, Dr Uzma Khanum, sister of the former prime minister, while complaining about the police “highhandedness”, said the police carried out the operation without warrants and harassed women and tortured servants.

Sixty-one workers of PTI were arrested outside the house when they tried to stop police from entering the premises and arms were seized during the action led by CIA SSP Liaqat Malik.

Police made an announcement on loudspeakers that Section 144 was in force and PTI workers should disperse as they would have to search the house and remove the encroachments from the area.

Five Kalashnikovs, bullets, marbles and petrol bombs were recovered, police said.

PTI workers clashed with police personnel while trying to stop them from entering the former PM’s house when they reached there after getting search warrants from an anti-terrorism court (ATC), police claimed.

Several PTI workers and policemen were injured in the clash.

The policemen were seen entering the house by dismantling its gate with the help of an excavator. PTI workers were also seen attacking the policemen in their attempt to stop them from getting into the house.

PTI workers resorted to aerial firing, attacked the police with petrol bombs and pelted them with stones when the cops started arresting them.

The policemen were also seen attacking the PTI workers with batons. Several PTI workers were seen bleeding while being taken into custody.

Meanwhile, the district administration removed all the tents installed outside the residence of Mr Khan and took away sandbags placed to make bunkers.

Later, interim Information Minister Aamir Mir and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr Usman Anwar at a press conference said that police had successfully cleared the no-go areas established by a political party in Lahore and no one was allowed to establish no-go areas.

The IGP said that 61 PTI workers were arrested for attacking policemen when they went to search Mr Khan’s house.

He said they will use the latest technology including HD footage, pictures and forensics to identify the suspects involved in the attack, adding that no innocent person will be detained.

He said police recovered five Kalashnikovs, bullets, petrol bombs and marbles from the custody of the suspects and added that a case was lodged for attacking and restricting the police to implement the court’s search warrant orders.

Dr Anwar said police did not fire at the PTI workers who were pelting stones, throwing petrol bombs and resorting to fire. “The police had recorded the footage of the suspects who were attacking the policemen and their identification parade would be conducted soon.”

He said police had removed all the space encroached in Zaman Park for the last several months and also destroyed the “bunkers” made to attack the law enforcement agencies.

He said all the roads were opened for traffic and no one would be allowed to create any no-go area.

In reply to a query about arresting Bushra Bibi, wife of Mr Khan, the IGP said that only those people who were involved in attacking policemen would be arrested. He said they would completely ensure the sanctity of the house and would not disturb others.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2023

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