Security forces allegedly recovered 16 assault rifles and ammunition from former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan’s Lahore residence on Saturday. The police also claimed to have recovered petrol bombs and glass bottles which it believes were collected to make Molotov cocktails.
In a press conference on Saturday, Punjab Inspector General (IG) Dr Usman Anwar displayed the petrol bombs and said, “These petrol bombs were recovered from there (Zaman Park), and there is also ammunition other than this.”
Am grateful to masses that came when I went for my court appearance. Everyone knows ruling cabal of crooks has only one aim, to jail me any which way till elections are over. Already 96 cases on me & am sure after my appearance today I will hit my first century of court cases. pic.twitter.com/S9u9PHs1SQ
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) March 18, 2023
The recovery of weapons has raised questions about Khan’s political intent, fueling speculation whether the former Prime Minister was intending to wage war against the state. Apart from the weapons cache found at his home, has the cricketer-turned-politician stored weapons in other locations including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa-Imran Khan’s political base and the restive region on the Afghan border?
Pakistani media reports that over 60 supporters of Khan were arrested for obstructing the law. The police also imposed Section-144 in Lahore and asked Khan’s supporters from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party to disperse from around Khan’s residence.
The IG said that the legal status of the guns – whether they were licensed or not – is being verified. He added that the police has also cleared the roads around Khan’s residence which were blocked with shipping containers.
The police and Khan’s supporters had fought pitched battles for at least two days after the police went to the former Prime Minister’s home in Lahore on Tuesday to arrest him, following a court’s orders in the Toshakhana case under which Khan reportedly sold off precious gifts given to him as the prime minister by foreign dignitaries.
The police came prepared for a search of Khan’s house with water cannons, riot police, women police personnel, prisoner vans as well as anti-encroachment personnel wit heavy earthmoving machinery. The police had been unsuccessful in arresting Khan over the last many days due to the presence of PTI workers and Khan’s admirers who fought with the security personnel.
Videos showed police entering Khan’s house at Zaman Park after using an excavator to break down the main iron gate of the house. Meanwhile, a war of words has erupted between Pakistani politicans over Khan’s antics.
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