Pakistan cracks down on Opposition ahead of protest
Pakistani police clashed with Opposition party supporters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Friday, arresting dozens ahead of a planned protest by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan aimed at unseating the government.
Police charged stone-throwing protesters with batons and fired tear gas at the supporters, who had come out on the streets of Islamabad’s twin-city to demonstrate against arrests made the previous night after authorities banned all public gatherings in the capital for two months.
Municipal workers used shipping containers to block major roads leading from Rawalpindi to Islamabad, where Mr. Khan has vowed to lead a protest on November 2 demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation over revelations made in the Panama Papers that his family has offshore bank accounts.
Imran’s home surrounded
The exact number of arrests could not be confirmed, but a spokesman for Mr. Khan’s Pakistan Tehreeke-Insaf (PTI) party said 43 workers arrested on Thursday night were still in detention. A heavy contingent of police, meanwhile, surrounded Mr. Khan’s house in Banni Gala, a leafy suburb of Islamabad, preventing him from leaving. Dozens of Mr. Khan’s supporters also gathered around the house, chanting anti-government slogans calling for Mr. Sharif to resign.
Mr. Khan later made a brief appearance in front of the media vowing he would not be deterred and would lead his protest as planned. “As long as I am alive I won’t sit idle until I hold Nawaz Sharif accountable. Throw me in prison, when I’m out I will start again,” he said.
“Try stopping me if you can, you will be unable to stop a flood of people on November 2.“ — AFP