Police in Lahore on Saturday broke down the gate of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence, after they were shot at from individuals holed up inside during a clearance operation of the posh locality.
According to police, they launched the operation to clear the area of all encroachments erected by PTI supporters. They said any individuals who resisted the operation would be taken into custody, adding that over 20 workers had already been arrested.
Condemning the operation, Khan—who is currently traveling to Islamabad to attend court proceedings—wrote on Twitter that Punjab police had launched an assault on his house while his wife, Bushra Bibi, was alone. “Under what law are they doing this? This is part of London Plan where commitments were made to bring absconder Nawaz Sharif to power as quid pro quo for agreeing to one appointment,” he alleged, without offering any evidence of his claims, as per routine.
Police maintain they only broke into Khan’s residence because someone inside had fired gunshots on them—with no injuries or casualties reported—and had also thrown “petrol bombs” and stones at them. They used heavy machinery to break down the main gate of the house, adding that they would not enter the actual residence and were only seeking to locate evidence of petrol bombs and other arms and ammunition. Prior to launching the operation, police urged people around the area to disperse of their own according, maintaining that Section 144, which bars gatherings of five or more people, was currently in force.
Police have also shared with media a search warrant for Khan’s residence, secured from an Anti-Terror Court in Lahore. “Search warrant is issued as per Section 47 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and In-charge Investigation/Investigating Officer is directed to accompany a lady police officer not below the rank of Inspector at the time of search of requisite house in accordance with law,” it said.
According to local journalists, there were a little over 100 PTI supporters at Zaman Park when the police launched their operation, most having accompanied Khan on his journey to Islamabad. The PTI, however, maintains that police have no ground for this operation, as the Lahore High Court had directed authorities to liaise with Senator Shibli Faraz and former minister Ali Muhammad Khan for any investigation into cases registered over clashes that occurred earlier this week.