LAHORE , March 18, 2023: In an unexpected move, police broke into the residence of PTI Chairman Imran Khan at Zaman Park after an operation was launched on Saturday to clear the area as the former premier left for Islamabad to attend hearing in the Toshakhana case.
Sources said Canal Road, Dharampura, Mall Road underpass and other areas had been closed for traffic while shipping containers had been placed around Zaman Park. Internet and mobile phone services have been suspended in the area.
Footages showed an anti-encroachment team had removed all camps set up by the PTI workers alongside Canal Road and at Zaman Park. Nearly, 10,000 security personnel are taking part in the operation. The action has sparked clashes between Imran Khan’s supporters and police, leaving seven people including a policeman injured. Sources said police had arrested nearly two dozen workers of the PTI.
The latest turbulence comes a couple of days after the Punjab capital saw violent clashes when police tried to arrest Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case. The violent situation came to an end after the Lahore High Court (LHC) barred police from the Zaman Park operation.
On Thursday, the Punjab government and the PTI reached an agreement to defuse ongoing tension simmered when clashes erupted between supporters of Imran Khan and law enforcers during a bid to arrest him.
As per the agreement, the PTI will cooperate with the administration to implement the arrest warrants and search warrants. The political party, the agreement states, will also cooperate with police for investigation in cases registered over clashes occurred on March 14 and 15. It also allowed the law enforcers conducted search operation at Zaman Park in connection with the cases.
Earlier this week, several PTI leaders, including Imran Khan, and party workers were booked in cases for violence at Zaman Park. Police claimed that more than 60 personnel were injured when Imran Khan’s supporters resorted to stone pelting and hurled petrol bombs.
PTI chief has slammed the police action at his residence at Zaman Park, saying his wife Bushra Bibi was alone at home this time.
Taking to Twitter, he wrote: “Punjab police have led an assault on my house in Zaman Park where Bushra Begum is 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”.
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry also condemned the action, saying it was violation of the orders of the Lahore High Court.
Govt Defends Operation
Interim Punjab information minister Amir Mir, in a statement, said the court had not imposed any ban on such action, adding that no one would be allowed to make Zaman Park a no-go area. Mr Mir said the government did not want to conduct the operation in the presence of Imran Khan.