South Asia

Pakistan forces threaten to raid Imran Khan’s house

Pakistan security forces have warned they will launch an operation to arrest suspects, accused of attacking army installations, who are hiding out in former prime minister Imran Khan’s residence in Lahore.

Pakistan-based Geo News reported that all roads leading towards Zaman Park, Khan’s residence, have been blocked and forces have been deployed to the area.

According to the report, the Punjab government had given a 24-hour ultimatum, which ended at 2pm Thursday, to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to hand over the suspects who had taken refuge in his home.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan on Wednesday evening tweeted: “Probably my last tweet before my next arrest” adding that police had surrounded his house in the eastern city of Lahore.

Khan said he expected to be rearrested soon after the government warned him to hand over supporters.

Khan added that his re-arrest was imminent. Hours earlier, Islamabad’s High Court had granted him a bail extension until May 31, his lawyer Faisal Chaudhry said.

In a live video statement, he said his opponents were out to trigger a fight between him and the army, adding that this will bring a “big backlash that will cause huge loss to our country,” he said.

He demanded a judicial commission headed by the chief justice to probe the violence.

Earlier in the day, a Punjab province’s information minister Amir Mir said intelligence and law enforcement agencies had identified that some 30 to 40 people accused of attacking military installations were hiding at Khan’s home.

He said Khan had 24 hours to surrender the suspects, and that a police operation would be launched if he did not comply.

Khan, who has been rallying his supporters to demand a snap election since he was ousted in a parliamentary vote of confidence in April 2022, called on authorities to come to his house with arrest warrants rather than storming it.

Following Khan’s arrest, thousands of supporters attacked and set fire to scores of government and public buildings, including the army’s headquarters. More than 3,000 people are already in custody over the violence.

The military had already announced that those who attacked its installations would be tried under army laws, calling the May 9 attacks “pre-planned” and ordered by leaders of Khan’s party, which he and his party deny.

The Islamabad High Court, meanwhile, on Thursday said that the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi was “illegal” and ordered his release.

Police, however, detained PTI key leaders Ali Mohammad Khan from Jhelum, Maleeka Bokhari from Rawalpindi, and Shireen Mazari from her house in the capital Islamabad right after they were leased from custody on Wednesday.