The Lahore police continued massive raids in various parts of the city, arresting dozens more Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers amid allegations of harassment and abuse of power, Dawn reported.
The police targeted the party's second-tier leadership in a new round of raids in order to weaken its position.
DIG investigation Sohail Akhtar Sukhera, who is in charge of the operations, is said to have directed the police to crack down on the PTI workers. Police officials are avoiding media inquiries about the number of arrests made on Monday. The PTI leadership, on the other hand, claimed dozens of arrests and said that the crackdown had intensified after midnight.
According to a report published in Dawn, several police teams were dispatched to the leaders' and party workers' homes, offices, and other possible locations to arrest them based on lists provided to them following high-level meetings.
The PTI leadership has accused the police of 'misusing power,' claiming that officers harassed their family members, including children and women while forcing entry into their homes.
They told the media persons that the police had launched action against the PTI's leaders and workers in Lahore soon after Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi gave the police a free hand in the name of 'the writ of the law'.
The police raided the homes of Hafiz Farhat Abbas, the PTI chairman's political secretary, and Kiran Nadeem, the PTI candidate running in PP-158, as well as dozens of other party leaders and workers.
A mobile phone video of a police team going to the house of PTI leader Musarat Cheema at around 1:30 am on Monday went viral on social media.
The now-viral video shows police vans stationed outside her house and deployed force asking the family to assure that no family members, including children, would participate in anti-police street protests. The family claims that the police abused their authority by raiding their home in the middle of the night while the family members were sleeping.
According to reports, police detained Cheema's employees after they were unable to locate her at home. She was not at her residence at the time of the raid.
A large police force raided the home of PTI leader Bajash Khan Niazi, who owns the city's leading private transportation company.
In a video posted on his social media account, Bajash Niazi stated that the police raided and shut down his company's office at 2 am. He also said that the company's workshop and his brother Hammad Niazi's office were raided and forcibly closed. He claimed that police raided not only his house but also his brother's to intimidate them for supporting Imran Khan.
However, the police were unable to arrest him, his cousins, and other party members.
Bajash Niazi claimed in a media statement that the police committed brutality by targeting him, his relatives, and his business.
He claimed that he had submitted nomination papers for the PTI party's PP-146 constituency two days prior and that the police were threatening to shut down his business if he continued to contest elections, according to Dawn.
According to reports, the police detained Jamaat-i-Islami leader Abdul Qayyum, a candidate for election in PP-166, Lahore.
Qaisar Sharif, a Jamaat-e-Islami spokesperson, confirmed Abdul Qayyum's arrest, alleging that the police were conducting raids and harassing Jamaat workers.
The police also raided the Baghbanpura house of Mian Tariq, the office-bearer of the PTI's 'Tiger Force,' to arrest him. Tariq was not present during the raid, according to sources cited by Dawn. Later, he said in a media statement that the police blatantly broke the law by scaling the boundary walls of his house to break into it. He accused the police of harassing his family's women.
Raids were also carried out early on Monday at the homes of Khawaja Riaz Mahmood and his son Khawaja Salman in Gowalmandi.
Asif Jutt, the son of PTI worker Jamshed Jutt, was reportedly arrested from his home in Nishat Colony, Dawn reported. (ANI)