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Ex-Pakistani PM Imran Khan refuses police house search and sets his own terms

Ex-Pakistani PM Imran Khan refuses police house search and sets his own terms



By Mubasher Bukhari and Asif Shahzad

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) – Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday refused police permission to search his Lahore home for suspects involved in this month’s attacks on government buildings. state and military and has set its own conditions for such an operation.

Khan denied harboring anyone involved in the violence and said a search could only be carried out by a panel set up by a high court, with members of the government and his party – and on condition that a female officer accompanies them.

“First they said there were terrorists (inside), but then they said there were wanted men,” Khan told reporters.

“I asked them, they could come and see inside if there were any wanted men, but they said they wanted to search my house, which I couldn’t allow,” he said. .

“If they have to search it will be by court order, as he said earlier, there will be people on both sides with a woman included.”

He said he feared police, unsupervised, could plant weapons.

Amir Mir, information minister of Punjab province, of which Lahore is the capital, told Reuters earlier that police would only begin a search after agreeing terms with Khan.

The standoff is the latest in a tussle between former cricket star Khan, 70, and the mighty military that has deepened political instability in the South Asian nation of 220million.

Pakistan is also facing its worst economic crisis in decades, with critical IMF financing needed to avert a months-delayed balance of payments crisis.

Khan’s home is in the Zaman Park area of ​​Lahore and was the scene of pitched battles in March between his supporters and police who had tried to arrest Khan for failing to appear in court.

Khan was eventually arrested on May 9 on corruption charges, which he denies, and released on bail which expires this month.

His arrest sparked a wave of violence from supporters who attacked government buildings, public property and military installations, including his headquarters and the home of a military commander in Lahore.

Mir said there were no plans to re-arrest Khan.

Lahore Police Chief Bilal Kamyana said police arrested 14 suspects involved in the attack on the commander’s house as they tried to escape from Zaman Park.

A government statement says the team has handed over all evidence regarding the suspects to Zaman Park administration. He said a list of 2,200 suspects involved in the violence had also been given to Khan.

Analysts said a search of Khan’s home could spark further unrest.

On Thursday, Khan’s aide, Iftikhr Durrani, allowed reporters into certain areas of the house to “search for terrorists”.

Mir said they had very limited access and could not report on the entire property.

Khan said he was worried about what the police would do if they were allowed to search his home without a court order.

“We fear they will do what they did earlier – they stormed my house in my absence and said they had found weapons.”

(Reporting by Asif Shahzad in Islamabad; Writing by Miral Fahmy; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan, Clarence Fernandez and Nick Macfie)




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