LAHORE - The home of Salman Masood, The Nation’s Resident Editor in Rawalpindi, was raided by Rangers yesterday morning as part of a ‘routine combing operation’ following intelligence reports about presence of a cache of weapons in the area, interior ministry sources claimed last night.

Salman was not targeted as an individual, the sources added.

Armed police and Rangers personnel entered the journalist’s home in Rawalpindi’s Emmar Housing Society near DHA-II after questioning local residents and searched the cupboards for weapons.

Ministry sources said the raid was ordered shortly after the intelligence agencies were given information about the alleged weapons. More than seven homes in total were searched, including the home of an army brigadier, sources said.

The raid was strongly criticised on social media after photographs showed the journalist’s kitchen cupboards being searched by soldiers in combat uniforms.

The ministry has yet to explain why a raid was carried out without a warrant and whether it was ordered by the Punjab or federal government. It is also unclear whether it was covered by the National Action Plan or other anti-terror laws.

The Protection of Pakistan Act does give the federal government powers to raid on properties without a warrant, but it is not clear if this law was invoked.

The two-hour search operation was part of NAP, said the security services sources when asked about some details.

In some cases when there is even a shred of doubt that terror suspects could change their location or move their weapons to evade arrest, the agencies could not wait for search or arrest warrants, said the security sources when asked about missing of the warrants. “There were other houses which had also been searched without warrants including an army brigadier but nobody complained keeping in mind the terror threat,” they claimed. When asked who exactly directed the operation, they said such operations were part of NAP and carried out in routine, and do not require high-ranking authorities nod every time.

In some cases of raids against high-value terror targets, the top authorities are informed after the operations are completed. It is the decision of the officers on ground how to handle different operations. Sometimes they follow the warrant procedures and sometimes the information requires prompt action, they added. Extraordinary situation demands extraordinary measures, while involving the Rangers was just to deal with some possible extraordinary situation, replied the security sources when asked about sending paramilitary in Rawalpindi search operation.