Thursday, May 18, 2023
Punjab Caretaker Information Minister Amir Mir said Thursday that the law enforcers will conduct a search operation at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan's Lahore residence after his permission and in front of cameras to apprehend "terrorists".
"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 told Geo News' Shahzeb Khanzada.
The minister had given a 24-hour deadline to the PTI chief for handing over "30-40 terrorists" present inside his Zaman Park residence, which expired at 2pm today afternoon.
Mir said Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi conducted a meeting, in which it was decided that the delegation would take an appointment from Khan's team and meet him after Friday prayers tomorrow.
"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.
Khan had also asked the law enforcers to conduct an operation at his residence, but noted that they should carry valid search warrants with them.
"If he does not permit the delegation to conduct the search, then we will decide our strategy, but for now, we will want things to be conducted in a positive manner," the minister added.
The PTI chief also feared that the police did not conduct the operation as they wanted to "plant" people at his home and show them as terrorists later on, but the minister said everything would now be done in front of cameras.
"Khan's jokes should not be given much attention. How will we plant so many people — 40 — over there? He is speaking nonsense," the minister stressed.
The caretaker minister said the government has no plans so far to arrest Khan and warned him to stop spreading false reports about his probable arrest.
"We have no plans on arresting Khan despite his hue and cry. Even if we don't come to arrest him, some other authorities will detain him. He should not talk about his arrest for now."
Mir, moments before talking to Khanzada, said that the authorities had apprehended eight terrorists who were fleeing from Zaman Park.
"We have arrested eight terrorists who were at Zaman Park. We are investigating them and asking them about details, including who might be hiding inside the house."
The 24-hour ultimatum helped the authorities catch these people as they began leaving Zaman Park, he said.
"The reason behind using the term terrorists for them is because they were involved in Lahore Corps Commander House."
"We have information that some people involved in the attacks are hiding at the houses adjacent to Khan's house."
Geo News' Azam Malik, who is present at Zaman Park, said reporters were allowed to enter Khan's residence at 2pm and they could roam around there "freely".
Malik said he saw only Khan's personal security guards at his house today. The rooftop, which was surrounded by barbed wires earlier, is now been shielded with bullet-proof glasses.
A portion of Khan's room, where he meets people, has also been shielded with bullet-proof glass.
In Zaman Park, no party worker was seen at the security checkposts, he said, noting that 30-40 tents outside Khan's house — which were there a day earlier — were also removed.
Malik added that 8-12 workers were present at Zaman Park, but when they left, sources told us that police arrested them.
"Right now, there isn't a single worker present here at Khan's residence. Only security personnel are here," he added.
The reporter added that during the PTI chief's interaction, he seemed in a mood for negotiations.