Pakistan’s ousted prime minister Imran Khan has vowed to take legal action against the security officials involved in a raid on his Zaman Park residence here and brutal beating of his party workers during the search operation.
While Mr Khan was in Islamabad to mark his presence at a court on Saturday, over 10,000 armed Punjab police personnel launched a major operation at his Zaman Park residence and arrested dozens of his supporters. Police claimed to have seized weapons and petrol bombs from Khan’s house.
Mr Khan’s supporters managed to take control of his residence late Saturday night when the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman returned from Islamabad after attending the hearing in the Toshakhana case.
Heavy machinery was used by the Punjab police to break into Mr Khan’s residence. Mr Khan’s wife – Bushra Bibi – was present in the house during the police raid.
The 70-year-old former prime minister said that he would take legal action against the violation of the sanctity of the veil and the household.
“The assault on my house today was first of all a contempt of court,” he said, adding that police raided his house without a search warrant.
“We had agreed that an SP with one of our people would implement a search warrant because we knew otherwise they would plant stuff on their own, which they did,” he claimed in a series of tweets.
Mr Khan questioned the authorities under which law they broke the gate, pull down trees and barged into the house. He said much worse, police raided his house after he left to present himself before the Islamabad court.
“Bushra bibi, a totally private non-political person, was alone in the house. This is a total violation of the Islamic principle of sanctity of chadar & char diwari [veil and walls],” Mr Khan said.
He said that the contempt issue, violation of the sanctity of the home and the violence against his workers and domestic staff will be raised in court.
Meanwhile, Lahore Police on Sunday booked Mr Khan and over 1,000 PTI workers under terrorism charges in two cases. The number of cases against Khan has climbed up to 97.
Police claimed to have recovered rifles, Kalashnikovs, bullets, marbles and petrol bombs from his house during the search operation.
Police had also removed all the space encroached in Zaman Park for the last several months and also destroyed the “bunkers” made to attack the law enforcement agencies.
Senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry told reporters on Sunday that Mr Khan and the party would move the court against the police attack on Mr Khan’s residence. “Police have violated the sanctity of Khan’s house,” he said.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanuallah said the government would consult its legal team to assess whether a process could be initiated to ban Khan’s party.
“Terrorists were hiding in Zaman Park. Weapons, petrol bombs etc have been recovered from the residence of Imran Khan which is enough evidence to file a reference against the PTI for being a terrorist organization,” Sanaullah said.
Regarding the government’s plan to initiate the process to declare the PTI a proscribed outfit, the minister said: “Primarily it is a judicial process to declare any party proscribe. However, we will consult our legal team on the issue.” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif appeared to agree with the assertion by his niece PMN-L Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz that Mr Khan’s party is a “terrorist organisation”.
“If anyone had any doubt, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Niazi’s antics of the last few days laid bare his fascist and terrorist tendencies,” Sharif said, adding that Khan has “taken a leaf out of the RSS book”.
Police on Sunday obtained one-day physical remand of over 100 PTI activists arrested during Saturday’s operation.
As Punjab police has completely withdrawn security from the PTI chief, the Gilgit-Baltistan province where his party is in power is providing security to him.
The cricketer-turned-politician was disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in October last year for not sharing details of the sales. The top electoral body later filed a complaint with the district court to punish him, under criminal laws, for selling the gifts he had received as prime minister of the country.
Mr Khan was ousted from power in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote, becoming the first Pakistani prime minister to be voted out by the National Assembly.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)