Anti-Government Clashes In Pakistan Leave One Dead, 400 Injured

Anti-government clashes in Pakistan have injured 400 protestors and has also claimed the life of one person, reports Yahoo News. The current wave of protests which started a fortnight ago started to turn violent on Saturday after an estimated 25,000 people started a protest match from the country’s parliament to the residence of Pakistan’s prime minister in Islamabad. The protests continued on till late night and on to early Sunday morning in which an estimated 400 people were reported injured. One individual, who has not been identified yet was reported dead.

According to Islamabad police chief Khalid Khattak, his police force had to retaliate to the violent protesters who according to him were armed with axes, wire cutters and hammers. Khattak said that he used tear gas shells and fired rubber bullets to disperse the unruly mob.

“They had a crane and drove it until the entrance of the presidency. We are using only tear gas and firing rubber bullets where needed,” Khattak said.

According to Railway Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique, the protesters were driven away after they tried to uproot the entry gate that led to the home of the country’s prime minster.

The current wave of anti-government protests on Pakistan was called on by Imran Khan, the cricketer-turned politician and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri following Pakistan’s Independence Day celebrations on 14 August. Both men were demanding that Nawaz Sharif quit after he was blamed of rigging votes during local elections.

To make matters worse, Pakistan’s all powerful military was called upon by the civilian government to contain the protests leading to concerns that the military would use this opportunity to increase its clout among senior government officials in Pakistan. Meanwhile Pakistan’s defense minister claims that many of the protesters are in fact armed terrorists.

“There are 1,600 to 2,000 trained terrorists. They have 200 women who are trained in the use of firearms and they have come with the intention of occupying state buildings. These are buildings that are symbols of the state. Their attempts are being resisted. And we will resist these with full force,” he adds.

Islamabad’s two main hospitals have been receiving several casualties – and the number of injured people are expected to rise. According to Wasim Khawaja, a spokesman for the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences hospital in Islamabad, one individual who was reported dead following the clashes had died of a heart attack. Among the injured are over 39 policemen, 36 women and five children.

[Image Via News AU]