Islamabad, Aug 9 : Police used teargas shells to disperse anti-government protesters in the eastern city of Lahore after they seized a police bus, officials said Saturday. Supporters of a religious leader, Tahir ul Qadri clashed with the police late Friday after they started removal of containers from the roads placed by the authorities to stop a rally against the government scheduled for Sunday, Xinhua reported.
The religious leader has announced that his group will hold a “Martyrs’ Day” Sunday in protest of the killings of PAT workers in violent clashes in Lahore in June. Qadri says the government has failed to deliver and that he will lead a “revolution” in Pakistan. Activists of Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) broke a police cordon, blocking main entrances to his residence, which was surrounded by the police.
Qadri has announced protests against the government Sunday, four days ahead of another march against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. There were unconfirmed reports that the authorities have issued arrest warrant against the PAT leader to foil his protest plan. Officials said that Qadri’s supporters also torched a police station in Khoshab district in Punjab province.
Reports suggested that the PAT workers also seized three policemen in Minawali district in Punjab after the police tried to stop a demonstration. Senior opposition leader Imran Khan Friday announced he would not postpone his long-march against the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on August 14.
“I can’t help it, it is too late for the government now,” Imran Khan said at a press conference at his Islamabad residence. “My Azadi March (independence march) would be held at every cost. Irrespective of threats to my life, I will stage a sit-in in Islamabad,” Khan said. Khan has previously demanded probe into what he called rigging in the last year’s elections and now he demands resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
As the protests raise concerns at the possible political crisis, Sharif has summoned National Security Conference in Islamabad Saturday. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Irfan Siddique has said that the ongoing military operation in North Waziristan would be the only agenda of the National Security Conference and it would not discuss political situation.