Pakistan tense amid violent anti-government protests
Pakistan is going through a tense political phase. There are violent protests to dislodge the government led by former cricketer turned politician Imran Khan and the cleric Tahir ul Qadri. Imran Khan who leads a prominent political party is demanding a resignation from Nawa Sharif government whereas Qadri is protesting for deeper and wider political reforms.
The protests which started 2 weeks ago were largely peaceful till recently. 450 people have been injured in the protests. The police are firing tear gas to disperse the crowd. The army personnel have and buildings. The protestors were also prevented from entering the residence of the PM by police by firing tear gas canons, batons and rubber bullets. Pakistan’s defence minister has stood by his decision to use the tear gas as an alternative to force. The protestors if not stopped at critical points, would have crossed into the government houses and led to an ultimate chaos.
In many areas the protests have been led by women who were armed with iron rods and hammers. They hammered the parliament fence and made way for crowds into the lawns and parking. The Islamabad police chief expressed concern as he stated that the protestors were carrying hammers, wire cutters and axes in some cases.
There are about 8000 people on the streets including women and children. The talks between the leaders of the protestors and Sharif failed to reach a conclusive end as the opponents wants the country to have another set of elections and an immediate resignation of the PM. The military has been asked to mediate but there is no near end in sight. PM Nawaz Sharif has refused to resign and has dismissed the protest as not a major event.