On March 18, 2023, the Interior Minister of the Pakistan Government, Rana Sanaullah Khan hinted that legal proceedings could be initiated to declare former Prime Minister Imran Khan ‘s political party Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) as a banned outfit.
At a press conference in Lahore, Rana said that the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) legal team was examining the matter considering several revelations that could lead to a reference being filed against the party.
The Punjab Police (Pakistan) on March 18, 2023, conducted a raid at Imran Khan’s residence hours after he left to appear before a local court in Islamabad.
According to a report, the Capital City Police Officer himself monitored the operations as police used heavy machinery to break down the gate of Imran Khan’s residence.
In a press conference, the Inspector General of the Punjab Police (Pakistan), Dr Anwar Usman said “We have recovered weapons from Imran’s residence. There are more arms present there. An impression was given that it is a ‘no-go area’, but we cleared it.”
The Punjab Minister of Information Amir Mir was also present during the press conference. The police also found bunkers and bulletproof equipment at Zaman Park. Many slingshots, petrol bombs, guns and other equipment were found there too.
The Police were armed with water cannons, bulldozers, and prisoner vans. The PTI camps in the area were demolished; containers and barriers were also removed by using cranes.
The former Chief Minister of Punjab and present PTI President Chaudhary Parvez Elahi termed the police raid at
Zaman Park to be a grave violation of the Lahore High Court Orders and the police operation in Zaman Park was carried out under the direction of Rana Sanaullah and Maryam Nawaz.
The PTI leadership has strongly condemned the State terrorism launched at the residence of party chairman Imran Khan which they say was a part of the London Plan to eliminate him.
Legal proceedings against Imran Khan began after he was ousted from office in a parliamentary election in 2022. The seventy-year-old politician has been demanding a snap election and holding protests across the country.
The current Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shahbaz Sharif has rejected Khan’s demands, saying an election would be scheduled later in 2023.
Political fighting comes as the country struggles with an economic crisis, awaiting a bailout package of USD 1.1 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The case before the Islamabad High Court accuses Imran of selling luxury watches and other items that were given to the state during his tenure (from 2018-2022) as Prime Minister.
The Election Commission of Pakistan found him guilty and barred him from holding office for one parliamentary term. Imran Khan is avoiding the hearings because he fears for his safety.