LAHORE: As the arrest of suspects wanted in the May 9 violence continues, complaints regarding harassment of their families, neighbours and friends increase.

In some cases, police are also targeting working journalists who were covering the PTI protest. Reports say three different police teams conducted raids at the residence of journalist Jehangir Hayyat in Ichhra and took him into custody since he was spotted in Liberty Chowk by CCTV footage.

Jehangir told them that he was covering the event for his organisation, Business Recorder, but they were not convinced.

Some local residents intervened and got him freed from the police custody. The journalist later visited the Lahore Press Club where he sought help of senior colleagues. There he learnt that another police team had raided his house the same day. In the evening, a third team stormed his house and harassed his kids and other family members.

Zaman Park security beefed up

Jehangir’s brother told Dawn that he had conveyed to senior police officers that Jehangir had neither affiliation with the PTI nor had been part of their protests but to no avail.

In an identical case, the police teams carried out raids at the residence of a journalist Sarfraz Khan, working for GNN, for his arrest and allegedly harassed his family when he was not found there. His colleagues said he was covering the PTI protests on May 9 but the police put his name on the list of suspects on the basis of the CCTV footage.

In yet another matter, a female lawyer said her family was being harassed since she had visited the Corps Commander House on the 9th to see what was happening there.

There were reports that several teams of the police including Counter Terrorism Department, Lahore Crime Investigation Agency (CIA), investigation and operations wings of the police and other law enforcement agencies were conducting raids at the residences of suspects involved in the violence.

The sources said frequent raids had spread panic among the families of the wanted people who were changing their locations to avoid arrest.

They said most of the suspects and their families had locked their homes to go underground and switched off their cell phones. “Most of the displaced families are in immense trouble where to take shelter,” said an official

PTI activist Khadija Shah announced surrendering before the authorities amid crackdown on rioters

A daughter of former finance minister Salman Shah, Khadija is accused of `leading’ the attack on the Corps Commander’s House.

She has been in hiding ever since the authorities launched the crackdown. “I am going to turn myself to the police. I have taken this decision because the last five days remained very tough for me,” she said in an audio message on Sunday.

A senior police officer said she had not visited any police station to court arrest till 9pm.

MORE ARRESTS: Sources said the police made arrests of some lawyers, YouTubers and PTI activists on Sunday after they were spotted through video clips and CCTV cameras in and outside the Corps Commander House on May 9.

Punjab police official figures stated that the total number of the arrested PTI leaders and workers involved in attacks on military installations, police and other private buildings had risen to 3,800, including 2,000 arrested by the Lahore police.

About the police security outside the residence of former prime minister Imran Khan in Zaman Park, an official said that the number of personnel had been increased from 106 to 200.

He said the security measures were beefed up after the district government and the police removed tents, containers and other barriers placed by the PTI workers at Zaman Park.

A new clip showing Jinnah House arson attacks went viral on Sunday. Burning furniture, the protesters were heard raising the slogan attributed to the Indian army designs against Pakistan– ghar me ghuss kar marain gae – will hit Pakistan in their territory.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2023

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