Police raid PTI leaders’ homes, arrest hundreds of supporters ahead of long march to Islamabad - GulfToday

Police raid PTI leaders’ homes, arrest hundreds of supporters ahead of long march to Islamabad

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A supporter of PTI waves flags beside containers stacked by the authorities to block the Red Zone ahead of the sit-in planned in Islamabad on Tuesday. AFP

Tariq Butt, Correspondnet / AFP

Hundreds of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters and leaders have been arrested in Punjab during the raids on their houses ahead of a major sit-in planned by ex-PM Imran while a police constable was also shot dead during a "crackdown" in Lahore.

Constable Kamal Ahmad was killed during a raid by a police team at the residence in Model Town C-Block Lahore to arrest a local PTI leader. The constable was shot dead when a bullet fired from a rooftop hit him.

Police have currently taken two people into custody. The deceased officer had served 15 years on the police force and leaves behind three sons and two daughters.

"We are still investigating the murder of the constable and will not spare those involved in the crime," Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Operations Lahore Captain (Retd) Sohail Chaudhry said.

The arrests came a day before the long march on to Islamabad as announced by ex-prime minister and PTI chairman Imran Khan. He had demanded a date for a fresh election as well as the dissolution of assemblies and sent a message to the military asking it to adhere to its promise of "neutrality." In the wee hours of Tuesday, police launched the crackdown against PTI workers and leaders.

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Reacting to the police action, Imran Khan said a peaceful protest was the right of all citizens. "The brutal crackdown on PTI leaders and workers in Punjab and Islamabad has once again shown us what we are familiar with - the fascist nature of PMLN when in power," he said. "The present crackdown also raises serious questions about the handlers while the economy is in a tailspin.”

Imran warned the "crooks and their handlers" that these undemocratic and "fascist" steps would further exacerbate the economic situation and push the country into a state of anarchy.

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The former prime minister also claimed that the long marches of the now ruling parties against his government "were never stopped nor did they carry out any crackdown on their workers." "This is the difference between democrats and kleptocrats.”

"The brutal crackdown on PTI (leaders) & workers in Punjab & Islamabad has once again shown us what we are familiar with — the fascist nature of PMLN when in power," Imran said in a tweet, referring to the party of current Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif.


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Fawad Chaudhry, the former information minister in Imran's government, accused police of carrying out the overnight raids without warrants and put the number of arrested at more than 400.

"More than 1,100 houses were raided overnight. Police entered the houses without any warrants and insulted women and children," he tweeted.

Police raided former minister Hammad Azhar's house in Lahore, however, he was not present at his residence. Lahore Police also raided the residence of PTI's former information secretary, Farrukh Javed, but he escaped via his home's back door.

Pakistan-Politics-May24-main1-750 People cross a bridge on Ravi River which is closed for traffic in an attempt to foil a planned PTI protest in Lahore. AP

In Lahore's Johar Town, PTI lawmaker Sadia Sohail said her house had also been raided. "Police violated the sanctity of the four walls of the house," she claimed.

The house of another PTI leader in Lahore, Mehr Naeemullah Taj, was also raided. He alleged that police misbehaved with his family members and manhandled his employees.
Police raided the residences of PTI leaders Malik Ishtiaq and Yasir Gillani, but since they were also not present at their house, no arrests were made.

PTIworkers-female Activists of PTI party shout slogans during a protest against in Lahore. AFP

In Sialkot, the house of former special assistant to the prime minister on information Firdous Ashiq Awan, ex-provincial minister Chaudhry Ikhlaq, and PTI leader Tahir Hundli's houses were raided.
Sialkot police — with a heavy contingent — also raided the residence of Usman Dar. However, he was not present at his home, officials said.

PTI's Sahiwal district president, Rana Aftab, and another PTI leader Kanwar Imran also claimed that their houses were raided.

PTIworkers-24May Activists of PTI party shout slogans during a protest against the arrest of hundreds of supporters in Lahore. AFP

Sheikhupura Police raided the house of Mian Zafar, but could not arrest him as he was not present there.

PTI leader Rana Sajid from Kamoke also said that his house was raided, but he wasn't present there either. "Police detained two of my employees, but later released them."

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