LAHORE/GUJRANWALA/SIALKOT: Punjab Police late Monday raided the houses of several PTI leaders, including former power minister Hammad Azhar, Usman Dar, and others, ahead of the party’s “Azadi March”.
The development comes hours after PTI’s Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry, in a press conference, warned the government against using force to stop the “Azadi March”.
The former information minister told the government that it could arrest PTI leaders and workers if it wanted, but it would not be in its favour.
However, police raided Azhar’s home to arrest him, but he was not present there.
Taking to Twitter, Azhar also confirmed the police raid and said they reached his residence to arrest him and other party leaders.
Azhar’s mother, speaking to journalists, said police banged on the door and entered the house.
“The way police banged the door petrified me,” she said.
The PTI leader’s mother said police had searched the lounge and bedrooms as well.
“Why do police need to enter my house […] they [police] should show some dignity.”
Raids at other PTI leader’s residences
Lahore Police also raided the residence of PTI’s former information secretary, Farrukh Javed, but he escaped via his home’s back door, according to Geo News.
In Lahore’s Jauhar Town, PTI MPA Sadia Sohail said her house had also been raided.
“Police violated the sanctity of the four walls of the house,” she claimed.
Subsequently, 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.
In response, PTI Chairman Imran Khan said peaceful protest was the right of all our 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 […] already economy is in a tailspin,” the PTI chairman said.
Khan 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.
The former prime minister also claimed that PPP, PML-N and JUI-F’s marches against his government “were never stopped nor did” they “carry out any crackdown on their workers”.
“This is the difference between democrats and kleptocrats,” said the PTI chief.