Punjab Police on Friday arrived at former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence here to conduct a search operation to find “terrorists” reportedly hiding there, media reports said.
The delegation comprises Lahore Commissioner Muhammad Ali Randhawa, Lahore Deputy Commissioner Rafia Haider, DIG Operations Sadiq Dogar and SSP Operations Sohaib, according to the Dawn newspaper.
The team will meet Khan and hold negotiations with him, the report said.
The move comes hours after Punjab Police obtained warrants to conduct a detailed search at Khan’s residence.
Punjab information minister Amir Mir said hundreds of policemen will conduct the search operation, the Dawn newspaper reported.
According to the statement, the search will encompass a thorough examination of both the entrance and exit points of the residence, with the primary objective of finding “terrorists” hiding at the place, the Dawn newspaper reported.
On Wednesday, the Punjab government claimed that “30 to 40 terrorists were hiding inside Khan’s residence,” and gave an ultimatum of 24 hours to his party to hand them over.
However, no action was taken after the deadline expired on Thursday.
Mir said law enforcers will conduct a search operation at Khan’s residence after his permission and in front of cameras to apprehend “terrorists”, Geo TV reported.
“We [the interim government] have decided that instead of a head-on collision, we will send a delegation to Khan sahab under the supervision of the Lahore commissioner,” Mir was quoted as saying in the report.
“They will ask him [Khan] to allow them to conduct a search operation. A police party — comprising 400 personnel — will accompany the delegation as there is a reported presence of terrorists,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Bilal Saddique Kamyana claimed to have arrested six more “terrorists” attempting to flee from Khan’s Zaman Park residence.
On Friday, an anti-terrorism court here approved pre-arrest bail till June 2 to Khan in three terrorism cases filed against Pakistan’s former prime minister in the wake of violence that erupted after his arrest on May 9.
In a video-link address from his Zaman Park residence here on Wednesday, Khan, 70, said Pakistan is heading towards an imminent disaster and it may face disintegration.
Khan’s arrest on May 9 by the paramilitary Pakistan Rangers at the Islamabad High Court premises triggered unrest in Pakistan.
For the first time in Pakistan’s history, the protesters broke into the army headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi and also torched a corps commander’s house in Lahore.
Police put the death count in violent clashes to 10, while Khan’s party claims 40 of its workers lost their lives in the firing by security personnel.
On Monday, the top military brass vowed to bring the arsonists, who attacked the civil and military installations, to justice through trial under relevant laws of the country, including the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act.
Law enforcement agencies have arrested over 7,000 PTI workers across Pakistan, 4,000 of them from Punjab.
Meanwhile, Lahore police claimed to have arrested 14 “terrorists” who were trying to flee from Khan’s Zaman Park residence.
Khan, the cricketer-turned-politician, was ousted from power in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)