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‘Six more terrorists fleeing from Zaman Park arrested,’ CCPO Lahore claims

Punjab govt to file reference against judge for ‘facilitating’ accused involved in attack on ISI office

By Web Desk
May 19, 2023
Police officials block the road towards Zaman Park in Lahore on Thursday, May 18, 2023. — PPI
Police officials block the road towards Zaman Park in Lahore on Thursday, May 18, 2023. — PPI 

LAHORE: Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Bilal Siddique Kamyana on Friday claimed to have arrested six more "terrorists" fleeing from Zaman Park, taking the total number of miscreants nabbed after the expiry of the deadline to 14.

The city police chief said that four of them were named in the Askari Tower attack case while the other two were involved in the ransacking of the Jinnah House.

The Punjab government had given 24 hours to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday to hand over terrorists or face action. However, the provincial authorities later decided to hold talks with the PTI chief before launching a search operation.

PTI-govt talks after Friday prayers

Adhering to the instructions of Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsim Naqvi, a negotiation team headed by Lahore Commissioner Muhammad Ali Randhawa will reach Zaman Park today after the Friday prayers for talks with PTI.

According to sources, the government's team is likely to reach Zaman Park around 2pm to discuss search opertaion at PTI chief's Lahore residence with party representatives.

The sources added that if both sides agree, 400 police personnel are likely to be part of the search team as the 24-hour deadline given to PTI by the Punjab Interim Information Minister Amir Mir to handover "30-40 terrorists hiding in Zaman Park" ended a day earlier.

Ahead of the meeting, the road between Mall Road and Dharmapura in Lahore has been closed off by the police, while all the roads leading to Zaman Park have been cordoned off.

'Cash prizes for those identifying accused persons'

During a meeting, held to review the law and order situation in the province, Naqvi ordered that the cases registered against the miscreants involved in May 9 violence must be pursued with full force and that the “fugitives” should be arrested as soon as possible.

The meeting took stock of the situation and took decisions to ensure peace.

The participants approved cash prizes for those identifying the accused persons involved in terrorist incidents that took place after PTI Chairman Imran Khan's arrest last week.

The participants of the meeting also expressed concerns over the alleged facilitation of the accused involved in an attack on the Inter-services Intelligence (ISI) office in Faisalabad. 

Those accused of being involved in the attack include Ali Afzal Sahi, who is reportedly a close relative of a judge, amongst others.

It was also decided that a reference would be sent against a judge for providing extraordinary facilities to terrorists, while the “illegal and unconstitutional facilitation” of those accused of the violence will also be challenged.

“Facilitation of the suspects is equivalent to murder of justice,” the meeting maintained.

'On-camera search operation'

A day earlier, Mir had said that law enforcers will conduct a search operation at Khan's Lahore residence after his permission and in front of cameras to apprehend "terrorists".

"We [the interim government] have decided that instead of a head-on collision, we will send a delegation to Khan sahab under the supervision of the Lahore commissioner," Mir told Geo News' Shahzeb Khanzada.

Mir during the show also shared that interim CM Naqvi had conducted a meeting yesterday, in which it was decided that a delegation would take an appointment from Khan's team and meet him after Friday prayers today.

"They will ask him [Khan] to allow them to conduct a search operation. A police party — comprising 400 personnel — will accompany the delegation as there is a reported presence of terrorists," he said.

Khan yesterday asked law enforcers to conduct a search operation at his residence but noted that they should carry valid search warrants with them.

"If he does not permit the delegation to conduct the search, then we will decide our strategy, but for now, we will want things to be conducted in a positive manner," the minister added.