LAHORE - At least 20 suspects are detained as police are conducting search operations in seminaries located in different parts of the provincial metropolis, officials said Tuesday.

The suspects, mostly Afghans and residents of KPK province, are shifted to an unknown place for interrogation and verification of their identity papers.

“We have detained at least 20 suspects during search operations launched in the suburb of Lahore during the last two days,” a police officer confirmed on Tuesday night.

He said they launched a security sweep in Raiwind late Monday night and detained 11 seminary students. The arrested students, said to be the residents of KPK province, were studying at a madrassa (religious school) located on the Raiwind Road. They were taken into custody as they failed to produce identity papers during the checking.

Similarly, police also searched seven other seminaries located in Ichhra, Choburji, Iqbal Town, and Factory Area and arrested seven suspects. Hundreds of police commandoes are taking part in the search operations underway across provincial metropolis.

Sources further revealed the police would continue search operations in all the seminaries in Lahore to hunt down strangers and illegal residents.

A senior officer told this reporter that the search operations are launched across the Punjab province in the wake of Taliban threats. The police are also maintaining data of all the seminaries located in the province. The administration of religious schools is directed to provide all information about the teachers and students to the local police.

Meanwhile, police on Tuesday morning launched search operations in the residential localities including Millat Park, Samanabad, Sabzazar, Nawan Kot, and Skerakot and arrested another 15 suspects. They were shifted to different police stations for the verification of their identity papers and checking of criminal records.

Some residents protested against the police action stating that the cops forced their entry into the houses even without getting permission of the residents. They also alleged that the policemen are harassing innocent citizens in the name of security sweep. They demanded the provincial government to take notice of the police highhandedness and provide relief to the locals.

On the other hand, a police officer said that they were checking the documents of tenants under the Punjab Information of Temporary Residents Ordinance 2015. Police are taking action only against those who failed to submit the documents including rent agreements to the police station concerned, he explained.