- Interim information minister says search would be conducted in presence of cameras
Punjab Interim Information Minister Amir Mir said on Thursday that the Punjab police will send a “delegation” to Zaman Park tomorrow to search PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence, Aaj News reported.
Speaking at Geo News, the interim minister said that the Commissioner of Lahore would lead the delegation, which would search Imran’s house in the presence of cameras after seeking his permission.
Mir further stated that police contingents of nearly 400 cops would also accompany the delegation “to arrest terrorists hiding there”.
He claimed that the police had arrested eight “terrorists” holed up inside PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s residence earlier in the day.
“Fifteen minutes back a meeting has ended. Today in the morning, eight terrorists holed up inside Zaman Park were arrested. They were trying to flee the scene.
“They are being interrogated now to gain information about what is happening inside and who is in there,” he said.
Mir claimed that these “terrorists” were the same who had attacked the Lahore Corps Commander’s House, adding that police had traced them through geo-fencing.
Earlier, PTI chief Imran Khan said an “organised conspiracy” was behind the May 9 mayhem as he demanded that an independent commission should be set up to investigate the matter.
Addressing a press conference at his Zaman Park residence, Imran said he will provide evidence of how people were made to attack military installations as part of a plan.
Imran said the ruling coalition led by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) wanted to pit PTI against the army.
“They want to eliminate PTI through the army. The PDM is behind this and it is very dangerous for the country,” the former prime minister said, adding that the PDM resorted to this plan because they knew they could not compete with PTI in elections.
The PTI chief said he had no intention of fighting with the army, saying the army was vital to the country.
“Who wants to fight the army? Whoever fights the army will only lose the country … all this that is being done, only the PDM will benefit from it,” Imran said.
“The democracy in the country has been destroyed.”
To a question about members leaving the party, Imran said there was severe pressure on his party leadership to disassociate themselves from PTI.
“Several of our members are leaving the party. I don’t know many of them, but I am particularly saddened by Aamer Mehmood Kiani — who worked really hard for the party — parting ways with the PTI. “But there is immense pressure on them and everyone cannot bear this pressure. So I ask people not to criticise them.
“The pressure they are facing today was never faced before by politicians in this country’s history.”
Earlier, during an interview with Deutsche Welle, his first since the lapse of the Punjab government’s 24-hour deadline for his party to hand over “terrorists” allegedly taking refuge at his house, Imran said his party was facing a “reign of terror”, referring to the arrest of his top and second-tier leadership and members.
“My entire senior leadership is in jail. They get bail from court [and] as they come out of the court, they again get re-arrested … right now, it is a reign of terror that we are facing.”
Imran said police were still around his residence but not in as large a number as last night.
Earlier, the police blocked all roads leading to Zaman Park as the deadline given by the Punjab police to hand over “terrorists” ended at 2:00 pm today.
On Wednesday, the former PM said that police had surrounded his house and that he expected to be arrested soon.
“Probably my last tweet before my next arrest,” he tweeted on Wednesday.
Videos at the time showed that roads leading to his house were blocked by the Punjab police.
However, later, Punjab Caretaker Information Minister Amir Mir said the police will not arrest anyone at Imran’s Zaman Park residence before Thursday, 2 pm.
Meanwhile, in his earlier address, Imran said the government alleged that 40 terrorists were taking refuge at his residence.
“Please do come here, but in a civilised manner, and do not attempt to storm my residence,” Imran said, adding if the police came with a search warrant to carry out an operation at his residence, he would not show any resistance.
However, he believed the government was creating grounds to attack his home.
On reports of PTI leaders leaving his party, he averred that if ‘someone’ believes that this strategy would work, they should look at this while pointing towards a sheet in which it was depicted that 70 percent of the Pakistanis supported the PTI Chairman.
“No one could write off the party that enjoys 70 percent popularity,” he added. He accused the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) of creating a wedge between his party and the army.
On Wednesday, the Islamabad High Court extended its orders against the PTI chairman’s arrest in further cases till May 31.
A single bench of Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb heard the petition filed by Imran regarding pre-arrest bail and details of cases registered against him and barred the authorities from arresting him till May 31.
Imran’s lawyer, Barrister Gohar represented him in the court while Additional Attorney General Munawar Dugal, Advocate General Islamabad Jahangir Jadoon also appeared before the court.
The federal government represented by the additional attorney general for Pakistan, the advocate general for Pakistan and the state counsel requested the court to grant more time to provide details of cases against the PTI chief.
On the other hand, the PTI chairman also submitted an application seeking an exemption from his personal appearance before the court for one day.
Approving their requests, the IHC bench deferred the hearing of the matter till May 31.