ISLAMABAD – Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Tuesday morning, removing hundreds of protesters by truck. A police officer was killed when a former prime minister’s supporter opened fire on him.
Fawad Chowdhury, a spokesman for Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party, said police launched the operation shortly after midnight on Monday. Homes of party supporters are still being raided on Tuesday morning and at least 400 party supporters have been arrested across the country, Chowdhury said.
Khan condemned the arrest on Twitter. Authorities confirmed the raid but declined to comment on any arrests.
Home Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan has been accused of trying to create a civil war-like situation. The minister confirmed that a policeman was killed in a raid when a pro-Khan man opened fire on policemen who had entered his house in Lahore.
Authorities have tightened security in the capital, Islamabad, and deployed additional officers and paramilitary Rangers. Large shipping containers were placed on the main road leading to the parliament building to reach Khan’s supporters and possibly prevent them from setting up a settlement there.
Earlier this week, Khan called on his supporters to gather in Islamabad for a protest rally on Wednesday, which he said would continue until the government announces a date for early elections.
Khan, who served as prime minister for more than three-and-a-half years, was ousted by a no-confidence vote in parliament in April. He was replaced by Shahbaz Sharif as the Prime Minister.
Khan claims that his removal was the result of a US-backed plot. Washington denies any role in Pakistan’s internal politics.