Police have raided the farmhouse of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s nephew in eastern Lahore, after a video emerged showing him taking part in deadly hospital riots days earlier.
Three patients died, medical officials said, after roughly 200 lawyers stormed the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) hospital in the city on Wednesday, vandalising property and setting ablaze a police van after a dispute with doctors.
TV channels ran footage showing Khan’s nephew Hassan Niazi, a lawyer, at the hospital and watching as a police vehicle was set on fire.
“The prime minister of Pakistan’s nephew’s house and other premises, such as farmhouse and business places were raided,” Punjab’s Minister for Information Fayyaz Hassan Chohan confirmed at a press conference yesterday.
Chohan, who said five locations had been investigated by police, added: “He will be arrested at any cost ... all are equal in the eye of law.”
This was the second raid conducted in two days to arrest the lawyer.
Niazi’s house was raided on Friday but he was not home.
He was also not found during the raid yesterday on the farmhouse.
A senior police official also confirmed to AFP the raid was made early yesterday morning.
In an earlier, now-deleted tweet, Khan’s nephew had expressed support for the rally but later distanced himself from the actions of the lawyers present.
“My support and protest was limited to initiation of legal action against the concerned doctors. I only stand for peaceful protests. It’s sad day and I condemn my own self for supporting this protest now,” he tweeted.
Around 80 lawyers have been arrested and Prime Minister Khan – who has not commented on his nephew – has ordered an inquiry into the riot.
Meanwhile, the PIC hospital has now become fully operational, Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid said yesterday.
“The PIC fully functional again, with medical staff back to work. The lives of those dependent on these facilities is so crucial, we couldn’t spare even a moment’s delay,” she tweeted.
The minister thanked Prime Minister Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar for their co-operation.
PIC medical superintendent Dr Ameer Ahmed said that the machines that were vandalised by the lawyers have been replaced, adding that the doctors who had been on a strike after Wednesday’s attack have returned to work.
On Wednesday, a large group of lawyers ransacked the cardiology institute in Lahore.
The protest quickly turned violent as patients and doctors fled, after lawyers used stones and bricks to smash windows and destroy hospital equipment in the emergency ward.
According to the police complaint, the men in black coats also snatched a patient’s oxygen mask and ripped out another’s IV drip.
The hospital suffered a loss of Rs70mn, PIC officials revealed.
PIC chief executive Dr Saqib Shafiq said that the loss of Rs70mn included damage to the main building, medical equipment, and the doctors’ vehicles parked outside.
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