Police have left Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan's Zaman Park mansion after allegedly recovering assault rifles and a cache of bullets and detaining over 60 party cohorts accused of resorting to violence to obstruct the law.
Hours after Khan hit the road to attend the Toshakhana case hearing in the capital on Saturday, Punjab Police barged into his residence.
The police and PTI supporters recently fought pitched battles outside the former prime minister's home in Lahore, wounding several on both sides when the former tried to arrest Khan.
However, a police operation was launched at Imran Khan's residence this morning to clear the area of 'security camps' established by the party.
“Section 144 is imposed, you are kindly advised to disperse,” police said in an announcement before barging into Imran Khan's residence.
Television footage showed police entering the Khan's eight-canal house after using an excavator to bring down the main iron gate of the house. A number of PTI workers were also taken into custody.
The law enforcers also claimed they were fired upon and targeted with Molotov cocktails from inside the Khan's house.
A heavy contingent of the police was deployed in the area after an agreement was reached between the administration and the PTI on Friday regarding the search in Zaman Park.
Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Anwar, in a press conference, said police had finished the search and cleanup operation in Zaman Park and took into custody AK-47 assault rifles and a large number of bullets from Imran Khan’s mansion in Lahore's posh neighbourhood.
Later, he said five more Kalashnikovs were also found on Khan’s property. To a question, the IG said the legal status of the guns — whether they were licensed or not — was being evaluated.
He said before the operation, the roads around the park were blocked with shipping containers, "which now have been cleared ".
The police conducted the search operation with water cannons, contingents of fully-equipped riot police, lady police, and prisoner vans, the top Punjab cop said, adding that anti-encroachment personnel also accompanied the police along with heavy earthmoving machinery.
“The police broke the main gate with an excavator and entered Imran Khan's house,” the police official said, adding that a curtain had been placed on the broken gate.
Over 60 party workers were arrested from the PTI chairman’s house and moved to an undisclosed location for further investigation.
The top policeman alleged that his men came under direct fire from Khan’s house.
He said the police demolished several camps built outside Khan's residence, while anti-encroachment crews removed sandbags and other encroachments using heavy machinery.
“Azadi Container has also been taken away from Zaman Park,” IGP said.
To a question, he said, the search warrant was issued by the Administrative Judge of the Anti-Terrorism Court, whereas the search operation was launched under section 47 of the Criminal Code.
“During the search, there was a woman officer of inspector rank along with the investigating officer on the court order,” he added.