ISLAMABAD: Hundreds of people were injured in the federal capital as police battled throngs of protesters led by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chief Dr Tahirul Qadri.
The protesters - demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif - were held back with tear gas, batons and rubber bullets outside the prime minister's official residence and the adjacent parliament building.
After a night of clashes, protesters regrouped on Sunday and repeatedly clashed with the heavy deployment of security forces. Some 25,000 people marched on the prime minister's house late Saturday after talks with the government mediated by the army failed to end the political impasse.
Follow live updates below
11:40pm Islamabad police SSP media talk
SSP Islamabad Police Asmatullah speaking to the media said those behind attacks on journalists will be brought to justice. He vowed to protect innocent protesters and allow food to reach protesters as they are like "brothers of the police".
“Whoever was responsible for assaulting media persons and bringing disgracing the image of Islamabad police will be held accountable,” he said. He also apologised for the "excessive use of force".
“Islamabad will never use excessive force against protesters. We will never use force against women and children who are among the protesters.”
He said that the police hasn’t set the red lines but they have been given the constitutional right to defend certain red lines.
He said that those who attacked vehicles have brought disgrace to the Islamabad police.
“Allama Tahirul Qadri is a noble person who does greats work for the common people. Imran Khan is a great leader who is looked up to by millions of people,” he said.
11:10pm Raza Rabbani urges dialogue
11:00pm Maiza Hameed PML-N
MNA Maiza Hameed speaking to PTV said, "The PM's resignation cannot be on the table. As far as PTI is concerned, we have met 90 per cent of their demands. As far as PAT is concerned, they need to become just a little more realistic.
"The prime minister is extremely magnanimous. He will not hesitate approaching Imran Khan again, like he has twice before, to avoid what happened yesterday."
10:30 pm Analyst Hasan Askari
Prof Hasan Askari commenting on ISPR's statement said, "The Army had conveyed the same message earlier, when the dharna started.
"They have added, however, that violence should be avoided at all costs in tackling the crisis."
10:05pm Army supports democracy
In an ISPR statement released after a four-hour long meeting of the corps commanders, the military said: "While reaffirming support to democracy, the conference reviewed with serious concern, the existing political crisis and the violent turn it has taken, resulting in large scale injuries and loss of lives. Further use of force will only aggravate the problem."
The statement further said: "It was once again reiterated that the situation should be resolved politically without wasting any time and without recourse to violent means."
10:00pm Imran round three
In his third public appearance today,PTI Chairman Imran Khan said, "They thought the movement would end with putting me and Qadri in jail.... "I have been charged with terrorism, I am a terrorist to you Nawaz Sharif because you feel terror!"
"Both Qadri and I have been charged with terrorism. We must fight against this injustice."
In a message to security officials, he said, "If the government gives you an illegal order then, you must refuse to follow through on that order, this is what Jinnah himself said."
9:40pm Pervaiz Rashid says negotiations are possible
Pervaiz Rashid, Federal Minister of Information and Broadcasting in an interview with PTV said, "We have not shut any doors from our side. We are still willing to negotiate. We will be present wherever they ask us to."
He added that the government wants to save innocent women and children from these clashes.
"We want to save Pakistan from humiliation. We want to close these gates of destruction that are being opened for Pakistan."
9:00pm Subdued Saad, adamant Arif
Railways Minister Saad Rafique tells Meher Bokhari the government condemns the assault on journalists.
Later, PTI representative Arif Alvi phones in and appreciates Rafique's efforts to open negotiations. However, he says the party stands by its demand for the PM's ouster.
8:47pm We are still open to talks: Khawaja Asif
“There is no doubt that the onus is on us …I completely agree and that’s why in the heat of the action last night, we took this initiative that we want to talk,” Khawaja Asif told DawnNews.
“We still want to talk,” he said.
“We are also very ashamed of what happened with media personnel.”
To a question, he said: “The government has dealt with the matter with much restraint…it was politicians who made the free judiciary movement successful….I don’t agree with the attitude of the protesting parties.”
|Supporters of Tahirul Qadri gather on the lawn at the Parliament premises following clashes with police in Islamabad on August 31, 2014. — Photo by AFP|
“There is an urgency…but speculations about any further instability are premature,” Asif said.
“Both Qadri and Imran are opportunists… they don’t have children here…they are using people,” he said.
8:30pm SSP Islamabad requests for transfer: sources
SSP Islamabad Muhammad Ali Nekokar has requested for a transfer, DawnNews reporter Shakeel Qarar said.
Sources said Nekokar had reservations over a scenario involving police action.
He had earlier apprised his bosses that if protesters were attacked, the situation may become like that of Model Town.
DSP Khadija Naseem resigns over govt handling of Islamabad police action
8:05pm Constitutional, in house change acceptable: Raza Rabbani
Senator Raza Rabbani told DawnNews that a constitutional, in house change is acceptable.
8:00pm When Javed Hashmi left PML-N, it was our mistake: Saad Rafique
“Javed Hashmi is an institution. I have learnt a lot from him. I feel Hashmi is a blunt and outspoken and I have rarely seen such a man in Pakistani politics.”
“I said then and also now, when he left that it was our mistake.”
When asked if PML-N would invite him back, Saad said: “This is a very premature matter.”
7:45 pm Saad Rafique says he tried to protect media personnel as much as he could
“I tried to protect journalists as much as I could and it is true that media personnel were being beaten up. I went and embraced some of them so they could be stopped – even I got hit,” Saad Rafique said speaking on DawnNews in Mehar Bokhari's programme.
“But we analysed the situation and I told ministers what happened and now the prime minister also knows. Myself and Pervez Rashid are personally going to media houses."
"This collective attack on the media makes us think that it was planned to make us look bad,” Rafique said.
|A policeman fires a tear gas shell on protesters near the prime minister's residence following clashes with security forces in Islamabad on August 31, 2014. — AFP Photo|
“Until someone does not attack or get into a building, there will be no use of force.”
“We were near an agreement with PTI. Our meeting ended between 6 and 7. They submitted their draft, we had to give ours.”
“Out of six we had agreed on quarter to six.”
“Then at night, PTI’s core committee said they will not go with Qadri sahib towards PM House. Then when Sheikh Rasheed sahab spoke with him, he changed his mind. Our aim is not to fight. We want to resolve the issue.”
Rafique said to Arif Alvi, who was also on the programme: “Yesterday we offered samosas to you and had tea together, forget all of this. Resolve it.”
Responding to Rafique, Alvi said: “Saad bhai was genuinely trying but in our committee meeting we discussed that that one point was not debatable.”
On the government’s invoking of Article 245, Rafique said: “The army will not want a direct confrontation with protesters… the army does not have batons [they have guns].”
“The police is sufficient for this protest. But there will be no force used beyond what was employed already because there are women and children in the protest,” he said.
7:30pm Routes leading to CM House in Lahore closed
The city administration had sealed routes leading to the official residence of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
Protests have been going on in Lahore since last night and began soon after the clashes began in Islamabad.
Imran Khan wearing mask addresses supporters in Red Zone
The video was provided to Dawn by PTI.
7:20pm We can talk about negotiations once the govt ends its violence: Shah Mehmood
“Because of government’s irresponsibility, the country is in this turmoil,” Shah Mehmood Qureshi told a private television channel.
“The government’s attitude, the cruelty, the shelling — do you think there will be any negotiation in this atmosphere?”
Stop this violence and bloodshed and then we can talk about negotiations, Qureshi said and alleged that the police on government’s orders used force against women and children.
6: 55pm Islamabad schools to remain closed till Sept 3
Islamabad schools will remain closed till September 3.
The decision was taken by school authorities in light of the developing situation in Islamabad.
6:50pm Our patience is running out: Altaf
“Our patience is running out…the more any settlement is delayed, it will become difficult to control things,” MQM chief Altaf Hussain said.
Hussain was speaking to DawnNews via telephone.
6:45pm Corps commanders meeting starts in GHQ
A meeting of the corps commanders began at the GHQ with General Raheel Sharif in the chair.
Highly-placed sources told Dawn that the conference would also evolve its strategy to end the prevailing impasse.
Medic tends to injured policeman
|A medic tends to a police officer who was injured during clashes with supporters. — Photo by Reuters|
6:30pm Our paths are separate now Hashmi sahab: Imran
In his second public appearance on Sunday, Imran Khan said Nawaz along with the higher police authorities of Islamabad will be booked for their crimes.
"Two great Pakistanis, SSP Ali Omar and Captain Mustansar have resigned because they refused to fire at protesters."
"Get ready tonight. What was the difference between last night and tonight? Last night we were not ready. Now we are."
Imran said he has heard his arrest orders have been issued and threatened: "We have decided that we will shut down Pakistan if this happens."
Javed Hashmi suggested I decided to march on a "signal", Imran said, adding that Qadri contacted us and asked us to join them. “Hashmi and Qureshi felt the workers will be hurt [as they were in Model Town]".
"PTI leaders decided that we would not go for this reason..but PAT contacted us again and said it will be a peaceful advance."
"Then we discussed it with PTI leadership."
“I am upset that Hashmi accused me…from today out paths are separate,” he said.
“You know me Hashmi sahib… I am not acting on anyone's signal…if I was, why would I sit for 17 days?"
“To workers, get ready for today…If you want democracy, exercise your democratic right to protest.”
Drawing comparisons between Gaza and Pakistan, he asked if his critics would expect the Palestinians to sit silent in the face of atrocities.
Imran said a young man’s body was with the police but it was not handing it over to his family.
PAT supporters carrying an injured protester
|Supporters of Tahirul Qadri carrying an injured fellow protester. — Reuters|
6:15pm Meeting under Nawaz ends, important decisions taken
The meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has concluded and some important decisions have been taken.
The meeting condemned the attack on Parliament and it was decided that the government will defend state institutions at all costs.
The government has decided to call a joint session of the Parliament for Tuesday.
The meeting also discussed how to tackle the protesters who were not moving away.
6:10pm: Farooq Sattar laments situation in Islamabad
Taking action against the protesters has made the government’s mandate suspect, Farooq Sattar told reporters.
“We tried to find a political situation but sadly since last night, the situation is getting worse,” he said.
"This is the beginning of an economic breakdown," he said, adding that “after yesterday’s actions, the effects are being felt all over the country.”
5:37pm: Qadri lambasts Sharif brothers, says won't stop at FIR now
Addressing his supporters, Tahirul Qadri said that after Jinnah died in 1948, Pakistan never had a government that applied Jinnah’s vision on the country.
Jinnah had said that Pakistan as a state would only be viable if it was free from corruption.
Jinnah had said that we would have to fight against corruption, Qadri said, adding that it was a great pity that the conditions have become such that those who should work for the country’s betterment are the most corrupt in the country.
The PAT chief alleged that in the whole of Europe, the biggest Asian investors were the Sharif family.
He said Nawaz is interested in governance so far as it helps him with his business.
"These people came to power to engage in corruption and carrying out their businesses…they are corrupt in every respect…day and night, the only thing these people want to ensure is that they deprive this country of as much of its wealth as they could."
These people are not democrats, Qadri said, adding that now it won’t end with their resignations.
We had only wanted an FIR over Model Town, Qadri said, adding that now that the government had dealt with the protesters in such a heavy-handed manner, we will not stop with their resignations.
“I will sacrifice myself in fighting against the treatment meted out against my sisters, daughters and party workers,” he said.
“The world has changed – Europe, Asia and all these places have progressed and there is increased social justice — why hasn’t it happened in Pakistan.”
Qadri said doctors have told him "thirteen people have died".
He said doctors have told him that some 30 people are expected to succumb to their wounds.
The government’s crackdown on protesters is worse than what Israel has done to Palestinians in Gaza, he said.
The ministers are lying and it’s completely disgraceful what has happened with members of the media, he said.
The government should know that it has committed horrific crimes against Pakistani media and we strongly condemn the assaults.
5:36pm: Sheikh Rasheed says doctors should give the right numbers
Sheikh Rasheed speaking to media representatives said it was unfortunate how the government was handling the protesters.
He said doctors should tell the public the correct figure of those who have died and have been injured as a result.
He said he had also come to know that the hospitals were turning patients away.
5:13pm: Imran went with party’s decision to go to PM House: Shireen Mazari
PTI Central Information Secretary Shireen Mazari has said that the decision to go to PM House was made in the following sequence.
She said first the PTI negotiating committee decided that the party would not move forward towards PM House and the decision was conveyed to Imran who endorsed it.
The party’s decision was conveyed by Secretary General Jahangir Tareen and Additional Secretary General Saifullah to PAT representatives who said their movement forward would remain peaceful.
Mazari said that on hearing this reassurance, Imran convened a meeting of the larger core committee which endorsed his view that PTI should move forward to PM House.
Javed Hashmi was the only exception who disagreed, Mazari said, adding that Imran went with the majority’s call.
She said the PTI leadership stands with Imran and the decisions made by him.
4:56pm: Quake tremors felt in Islamabad, Peshawar
Tremors were felt in Islamabad on Sunday and some areas of Peshawar, DawnNews reported.
The quake’s epicentre was south and southeast of Jarm in Afghanistan with a depth of 200 kilometres, the USGS said.
4:55pm: Corps commanders conference called for this evening
General Raheel Sharif has summoned the corps commanders conference for today. The conference was earlier scheduled for tomorrow morning but has been moved to earlier.
This evening's conference is of paramount importance with regard to civil-military relations.
According to ISPR, the change in timing was decided by the army chief after consulting with the corps commanders.
A protester near Parliament House
|Troops of Pakistan's paramilitary force stand guard outside the Parliament building as a protester walks past them with a headband that reads, “go Nawaz go,” in Islamabad, Aug 31, 2014. — Photo by AP|
4:30pm: Three people have died: Dr Ayesha of Pims
Dr Ayesha Isani of Pims said as opposed to the accounts on different TV channels, I must clarify said three people have so far died – two of them in the hospital.
Hashmi was standing by the doctor and a number of other people and again appealed that all people who were injured were the children of Pakistan.
Hashmi has called for calm again.
Imran is the hope for Pakistan, he said, urging the government to show some flexibility on the issue.
4:15pm: Clashes start again between police, protesters; severe shelling under way
Police and PTI protesters broke into a clash after PTI workers attacked an ambulance carrying injured police personnel, DawnNews reported.
Police is firing tear gas shells at protesters near Imran Khan's shipping container and the onslaught has become severe. Moreover, a number of protesters wielding batons are roaming in the area.
3:55pm: Sheikh Rasheed denies advising Imran to move toward PM House
Soon after Javed Hashmi told media representatives that Imran Khan changed his mind about staying put in D-chowk after meeting with "some people" including Sheikh Rasheed, he said he had no role in Imran's decision-making.
Hashmi's account suggested that Imran who had pledged his party that they would stay at D-chowk changed his mind after he was conveyed a message from Rasheed and a few others.
3:50pm: PM chairing high-level meeting in Islamabad
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is chairing an emergency, high-level meeting in the capital as Islamabad's situation took on critical proportions.
Federal ministers Chaudhry Nisar, Saad Rafique, Abdul Qadir Baloch and Khawaja Asif are in attendance.
The meeting is discussing the ongoing political crisis and the government is expected to decide on a future course of action to manage the situation.
3:45pm: PTI is part of an international conspiracy against Pakistan's development: Ahsan Iqbal
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has said he is convinced that innocent people were used as a tool to sabotage the upcoming visit of the Chinese president to Islamabad.
In an interview, he said PTI is part of international conspiracy against Pakistan's development plan.
The minister said those doing the sit-ins are doing the politics of invasion as they invaded the parliament and other state buildings.
He said the government was convinced to resolve the issue through dialogue and things were satisfactory for PTI dialogue committee.
He said all of a sudden Imran Khan directed his party workers to invade the state buildings in the Red Zone.
The minister said PTI dialogue committee seems powerless because of Imran's attitude towards dialogue. He, however, hoped that they will return on the dialogue table instead of provoking people to take extra-constitutional steps.
3:40pm: Arif Alvi says Hashmi’s reservations will be conveyed to Imran
Responding to Hashmi’s press conference, Arif Alvi said Hashmi had a few reservations with the party’s decisions but he is still with PTI.
Alvi said Hashmi’s demands about turning back will be taken to Imran Khan.
Only the party chairman can take a decision on this issue.
Javed Hashmi calls on Imran to respect Parliament's sanctity
3:30pm: General Raheel summons corps commander conference tomorrow
Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif has summoned a meeting of the corps commanders tomorrow to discuss the ongoing situation.
The army is expected to discuss the current political situation in the country.
3:10pm: Javed Hashmi says Imran broke pledge to party leaders over march to PM House
Imran Khan had given me certain pledges on national installations and had agreed that as a leader the PTI chairman and we were responsible for our activists and supporters.
Our talks’ team was engaged in talks with government till 6 pm and the government was supposed to get back to us, Hashmi sai. He said the PTI team decided that we will apprise Imran of our views – all party leaders were in the loop on this. Almost all party leaders agreed that we didn't want to go ahead from where we were.
PTI had decided that it won’t march ahead and Imran committed to me and the entire party and it was decided but some 20 minutes after the decision was taken, Imran backtracked and said we had to go ahead.
I do not agree with Nawaz's style of governance but it does not mean that I would trample over the sanctity of Parliament.
Hashmi said Imran had pledged to me that he wouldn't go ahead, he wouldn't talk to undemocratic forces but it is a pity that all of this has happened.
"I sat in jail for seven years for the supremacy of Parliament...how can I walk over that very Parliament?"
Hashmi begged all parties to think about their responsibilities and not putlives in harm's way.
He said what emerged that Qadri had said that he won’t go ahead towards PM House and would wait for Imran to announce first. Also some people came to meet Imran, including Sheikh Rasheed, after which he changed his mind.
Hashmi also pleaded to the government not to attack the protesters but also said the leadership of PTI should not put their people in harm's way.
2:46pm: Nawaz Sharif reaches PM House: reports
Prime Minister Nawaz has reached the Prime Minister House, reports said.
2:45pm: Army chief in meeting to discuss Islamabad situation: reports
Army chief Raheel Sharif is in a meeting to discuss the ongoing situation in Islamabad, a private television channel reported.
Senior military officials are reportedly present at the meeting. ISPR denied the reports.
Imran Khan says will lodge FIR against Nawaz, Shahbaz
2:30pm: Arif Alvi says govt crossed all limits of high-handedness
The government has crossed all limits of high-handedness. Protesters are being subjected to attacks by law enforcement personnel.
Alvi said it was fair of Imran to call Nawaz a fascist and Nisar Nawaz’s field marshal.
Parliament House today
|Army soldiers stand guard as they secure Parliament. — Photo by Reuters|
2:15pm: Bilawal denounces attack on media persons
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Patron-In-Chief, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has strongly condemned attacks on reporters of different news channels by the protesters and police during Islamabad riots since last night.
In a statement issued here on Sunday, Bilawal said the brutal manhandling and torture of reporters of Dawn, Samaa, ARY, Dunya, Din, Geo TV and other news channels at the hands of rioters and the police were highly condemnable acts and democratic forces wont tolerate such incidents.
2:10 pm: Imran calls on people of Pakistan to rebel against government
Protesting outside the Prime Minister House is permissible in a democracy.
When a prime minister lies to the Parliament, he has to resign.
The government has lied time and again, Imran said, adding that the prime minister's oath does not allow him to lie. It in fact prohibits him.
Government has decided to take on the path of violence, Imran told his supporters, adding that the government had violated international law by tear gas shelling on peaceful protesters.
We will register FIR against Nawaz and Nisar.
When the protesters climbed the Parliament’s walls, it was only to protect themselves, he said.
Khursheed Kasuri's driver was unconscious, he said, adding that police had arrested his family from Pims.
Government’s Gullu Butts even attacked the media.
We will not allow the media to attack our people, he said, adding that the government was feeling threatened.
He called on the people of Pakistan to rebel against the government.
The government has sealed the whole area, Imran said, adding that the condition was such that no one could go in or get out. It is a siege, he said.
“I request all the nation, civil servants, bureaucrats, to rebel against this government.”
“Nawaz Sharif is a fascist and does not believe in democracy.”
"Peaceful protests are a party of democracy, he said, adding that those who say we shouldn’t have done this do not know the difference between freedom and slavery."
"I am prepared to die fighting for the freedom for my people."
“40 crore rupees worth of assets belonged to Nawaz before he came to power,” Imran said, adding that now his sons alone owned more than 100 billion rupees.
Imran challenged Nawaz to gather half of people he has brought with him in KP and if the government managed to do that he would call a re-election in the province.
"We fear nothing," he said.
Imran asked why the government had blocked Islamabad and on what basis it attacked the protesters. “Nation must decide now whether they want Nawaz’s kingdom or freedom.”
“I thank the courage of protesters of PTI and PAT…you fought bravely,” Imran said.
“You have won!”
“We are ready now. Government cannot function. How will they run it? Secretariat is closed, parliament is closed.”
“We will remain here until we take resignations from Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif,” he said.
2:04pm: Saad Rafique pledges to protect media persons
2:02pm: Nawaz returning to Islamabad
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is on his way back to the capital, a day before he was scheduled to return.
Th embattled premier was in Raiwind when clashes broke out in Islamabad between police personnel and protesters from PTI and PAT.
1:47pm: Injured PAT worker succumbs to injuries
A worker of PAT, Rafiullah succumbed to his injuries at the Pims, DawnNews correspondent Zakia Nayyar quoted a Pims spokesperson as saying.
Rafiullah had a head injury and was on the ventilator.
1:37pm: Section 144 imposed in Punjab
Section 144 has been imposed in Punjab, DawnNews reported.
The order was issued by the provincial home ministry.
1:33pm: Govt future not in danger: Saad Rafique
Railways Minister Saad Rafique said the protesters needed to be controlled, adding that if the government hadn’t stepped in, such incidents would continue to take place in the future.
He said the government’s future is not in any danger.
“I am against this physical torture”, he said regarding the police's attack on journalists, adding that there was no excuse for it and it needed to be stopped.
Those involved in attacking journalists would be tried under the law.
1:25pm: Asma Jehangir flays govt for attacking women, children
Asma Jehangir lashed out at the government for attacking women and children.
“They [protesters] attacked the state buildings, it was very wrong of them. But it is the responsibility of the state to ensure that the women and children are not attacked. I also strongly condemn the attack on journalists,” she said speaking to PTV News. “Clashes should always be avoided because our police is not trained to do crowd management,” she said.
Meanwhile, PTI’s Aisha Gulalai told reporters that Nawaz must resign for 30 days and that protesters will not leave without the prime minister’s resignation.
She lashed out at the government over using violence against peaceful protesters.
The government is even trying to arrest women and children, she said.
1:21pm: Imran Khan leaves container
|Imran Khan outside his container. — videograb|
Imran Khan has left the shipping container he was in and was flanked by a number of PTI leaders and supporters.
Khan left the container to organise his activists for PTI's forward movement.
Khan is moving forward towards Secretariat road.
Charged protesters chanted "Go Nawaz Go" slogans as soon as they found Imran Khan among them.
1:14pm: DawnNews team attacked
DawnNews team covering the events was attacked. DawnNews reported that the team was under attack by members of law enforcement personnel.
Baton-wielding police personnel are attacking media vans and also damaged a camera, DawnNews reported. A journalist was seen being beaten up by several police officials.
Reporter Haseeb Bhatti speaking to DawnNews said law enforcement personnel had literally launched an attack on media personnel.
Bhatti was panting as he spoke to DawnNews.
Two cameraman of DawnNews are already injured and DawnNews vehicles have also been attacked.
Reporter Haseeb Bhatti said Saad Rafique then came in and tried to save journalists from police torture, adding that the minister was on the field and had vowed to protect media personnel.
1:08 pm: MQM hoists black flags on party offices across Karachi
|MQM party offices have hoisted black flags. — videograb|
As violence in Islamabad continues, MQM which had earlier pledged its support to the protesters and called for Nawaz’s resignation, began hoisting black flags on party offices across Karachi.
12:55pm: Media in the line of fire
Islamabad police has again started violence on media personnel covering the protest at the secretariat chowk, DawnNews reported.
Cameramen and staff of a private news channel have reportedly been injured.
On the other hand, protesters have also been seen to be hurling stones at law enforcement personnel.
|A supporter of Tahirul Qadri uses a slingshot to lob a stone towards riot police during clashes with security forces near the prime minister's residence in Islamabad on August 31, 2014. — AFP|
12:47pm: Jahangir Tareen says country in flames, govt actions undemocratic
PTI leader Jahangir Tareen said the government’s actions had been thoroughly undemocratic, adding that it had looted the people’s mandate.
This government will not succeed, Tareen said, adding that the whole country would stand up to their barbarity.
The country is in flames, he said.
12:44pm: Darkest day in country’s history: Gilani
Former prime minister and PPP leader Yousuf Raza Gilani said Pakistan was witnessing the darkest day in its history.
He said a scenario such as this had not even happened during military regimes and added that use of force was not the answer.
He said all of Islamabad had been impacted by the use of tear gas shelling.
12:36pm: Pervaiz Khattak lashes out at govt
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak said Constitution Avenue was a public space and it was the people’s right to protest against the government.
Now there is only one solution to this problem, Khattak said, adding that the country needed to rid itself of the existing ruling class.
He said the ruling political class constituted of thieves and also accused the media of being partial in favour of the Nawaz-led government.
He said if the media was free in Pakistan, the country would not have been in such a state.
12:31pm: Shelling continues
Tear gas shelling is still under way at protesters at short intervals, DawnNews reported. 10,000 personnel of Punjab police are guarding Pakistan Secretariat and the route leading to PM House has a large contingent of FC personnel deployed.
No police personnel are seen to be present at the Cabinet division and PAT protesters are in the area and trying to move forward.
Protesters are also claiming that water supply to the Parliament has been blocked.
12:26pm: GHQ cancels defence day meetings over political crisis: reports
General Headquarters on Sunday cancelled programs scheduled in relation to defence day on account of the prevailing political crisis in the country, DawnNews reported.
12:19pm: Pims’ Javed Ikram says hospital trying to cater to as many patients as can
Javed Ikram of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) told media representatives that three patients who were brought in had some injuries on their jaws and 27 patients had injured legs.
Some 55 men and women suffered suffocation, Ikram said, adding that many patients have already been discharged. One child also underwent suffocation.
41 injured have also been treated, he said, adding that all of them were stable, had blunt injuries of stones, batons and very few sharp wounds.
We are trying to move the maximum number of patients out of the emergency, adding that in case we need to treat more people we would have room.
Ikram said the hospital had done some 13 surgeries done so far and added that the general surgery team of the hospital was present at the Pims and was trying to deal with as many patients as it could.
The government has advised us to provide free treatment to patients and we are purchasing blood as well in case we need it.
We have everything for the moment and do not lack anything, he said, adding that no one has instructed the hospital administration regarding arresting anyone.
We have made sure that no one enters the hospital to arrest anyone and we cannot allow it. No patient will be arrested from Pims’ premises.
I advise citizens to carry additional water bottles with them and wash their eyes and faces with frequency.
12:07pm: Violence can only be stopped by the ones who started it: Pervaiz Rasheed
|Supporters of Imran Khan and Canada-based Pakistani cleric Tahirul Qadri throw stones towards riot police during clashes near the prime minister's residence in Islamabad on August 31, 2014. — AFP|
Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed said violence can only be stopped by the one who initiated it.
Critical of the protesters at Constitution Avenue, Rasheed said the government had to act against the demonstrators after they crossed red lines.
The government did not have a choice and those who started the violence must stop it.
12:01pm: Nawaz should contact Imran: Sirajul Haq
JI chairman Sirajul Haq says: I think Nawaz Sharif should contact Imran Khan personally and people might commend that action of the premier
I was hoping that this situation does not develop and had tried to talk to all stakeholders so that violence can be avoided.
“I will still try and find a way out…we lack all patience. This crisis required tolerance and patience,” he said. “There is still a possibility of resolution if both parties follow our given formula,” Haq said.
“If we all agree to revisit our actions, our positions…then things may eventually normalise,” he said.
11:54am: MWM blocks Grand Trunk Road
Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) has blocked the GT Road in protest against the capital police's use of force on protesters in Islamabad, DawnNews reported.
11:45am: PAT’s Khurram Nawaz says Awami Tehreek supporters attacked by stray bullets
PAT’s Khurram Nawaz said Awami Tehreek protesters were attacked with stray bullets but did not deny that the protesters were carrying batons with them.
He said: Is there a comparison between a bullet and a baton?
He also asked as to why were the journalists injured and what weapons had they been carrying. He said media persons were even dragged out of DSNGs.
Responding to this, Marvin Memon said she condemned high-handedness on part of security forces, adding that the government could not allow protesters to resort to violence against state functionaries.
We tolerated the situation for 16 days but our opponents abused our leniency, she said.
11:40am: PM informed of developments at Constitution Avenue
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been informed of the incidents taking place at Constitution Avenue, DawnNews reported.
11:33am: Marvi Memon says govt had no other option
Speaking to DawnNews via telephone, Marvi Memon said the government was faced with an unprecedented situation especially because in the past no one had tried to enter the Parliament or PM House.
"We have been a part of many sit-ins," she said, adding that the government did not have a number of choices and had to stop the protesters at a certain point.
"We cannot let Pakistan become a Banana Republic," she said.
11:28am: Fresh contingents of police brought in
Fresh contingents of police have been brought in in the Red Zone to counter the protesters, DawnNews reported.
The latest contingents include some 5,000 personnel from the police. These numbers are apart from the 40,000 to 50,0000 LEA personnel already deployed in the area.
:11:15am: Marvi Memon takes on PML-N detractors
Speaking to DawnNews, PML-N member Marvi Memon said, "Whatever is happening in front of our screens shows that the protesters are moving towards PM House, and their leaders are encouraging them instead of stopping them. Shall we allow them to enter the PM House?"
"When they were moving towards the PM House, they were in so many numbers. If you want Parliament to stop working, then of course with protesters sitting there Parliament cannot function."
"There is a mob in front of us, and trying to go in different places. Either we can stop them or allow them."
Roads leading up to key government and other sensitive installations in Lahore have been blocked with new containers this morning.
DawnNews correspondent Haseeb Bhatti reports that shelling and clashes have begun again.
A large contingent of police is engaging protesters, whose numbers have shrunk.
10:50am: Enter Qadri
Emerging for the first time since violent clashes broke out between charged policemen and defiant protesters, PAT Chief Dr Tahirul Qadri appeared subdued as he addressed supporters in the daylight.
He explained that his voice was hoarse as he was affected by tear gas, which he described as a “special type of gas”. He told supporters he was “watching them fight the war” and lauded them for their courage and passion.
“I congratulate Imran Khan, for taking up the lead when I was not well,” he said.
“This is Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan’s war,” he said. “We will fight it together… We also have to live together afterwards.”
Reiterating Imran Khan’s recent statement, Qadri said more FIRs will be registered against Nawaz Sharif and family.
“This is extreme state terrorism.”
“The government has set a unforgivable precedent of state terrorism, killing, and barbarism.”
He said he will address his supporters again once he is better health.
“When we will reach our goal, my real address will take place then.”
Urging supporters to stay on, he said that revolutions are not easy. “Revolutions come with great difficulties.”
10:45am: Second death reported
Dr Ayesha Isani, an official of PIMS hospital Islamabad, told reporters that a man brought to the hospital late Saturday night had passed away. She confirmed that earlier a man was brought dead to the hospital who had drowned by falling into a trench.
According to the hospital official, activist Gulfam Adil was killed as a sharp object passed through his stomach during the protest. He was operated at the hospital and was on a ventilator throughout the night. He succumbed to his injuries Sunday morning.
Another seriously injured is Rafiullah who has a head injury and still on the ventilator, she said. Meanwhile, she said that women and children were more affected by tear gas.
10:30am: Ayaz Amir lashes out at govt
Senior columnist Ayaz Amir speaking to DawnNews said there can be no justification for Sunday night’s incident.
“The government failed to resolve the crises politically. And this was not about yesterday alone but it has been happening like a series of events – they [the government] had misjudged, miscalculated several things that have taken the situation out of their hands.”
“If this situation escalates any further then we are moving towards another crisis in the country.”
He said that the the government needs to be asked who advised them to take such measures.
“In the Model Town episode, they were hiding behind commissions and tribunals. Shahbaz Sharif should have showed some courage during the Model Town tragedy, but they failed to control the crisis.”
10:20am: 'Pakistan's image tainted'
Speaking to DawnNews, Federal State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali said that these protests are hurting the image of Pakistan
He said that protesters are intruding on government institutions, hijacking the area for no reason and making Pakistan look like a joke before the international community.
10:15am: 'This is a dictatorship'
Speaking to DawnNews, PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the government’s response is “not democracy but dictatorship”.
“Those who attacked the protestors last night and are still doing so should be tried under the law,” Qureshi said.
He said that the party had a session at 5am during which they unanimously decided to register an FIR and to file a case against the Punjab police for violence on unarmed activists.
Meanwhile, he requested the government to stop violence on peaceful protestors. He added that PTI wants a solution with the army’s consultation and that PTI has always tried to resolve the deadlock.
“Government did not negotiate with us [but] instead took action with vengeance against our unarmed activists. The government was scheduled to meet us today in the morning but there was no further progress from their side in this regard.”
9:35: Snapshot from battlefield Islamabad
|Pakistani riot police return after clashes with supporters - AFP|
9:33am: Protesting on an empty stomach
Protesters are surviving on meager food and water supplies.
"There was so much shelling, it was impossible for us to sit, forget eating food," one female protester said.
No food is making its way into the Red Zone, which currently resembles a battlefield.
Asma Jehangir, a human rights activist and political commentator, urged the government to take necessary measures to protect women and children in the protest, but criticized protest leaders for claiming that the demonstration would remain peaceful. “It is like if you say 'a peaceful robbery “' she said.
9:25am: Army's role
Paramilitary troops and soldiers standing guard to protect the PM's house as well as other sensitive installations have not yet been called into action, despite the violence today.
Wasim Khawaja, spokesman for the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences hospital, told AFP the hospital received dead body of one person which was found in a rivulet at the protest site.
“He died of heart attack,” Khwaja said, adding 212 injured had been taken there, while the Poly Clinic hospital said it received 210 wounded.
9:00am: Police in action
|Riot police protect themselves from tear gas during clashes with the supporters of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and Canadian cleric Tahir ul Qadri near the prime minister's residence — AFP|
An assault on journalists during the Islamabad protest is equivalent to an assault on Pakistan, Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan said.
8:45am: No food, no water
Protesters say they have no food or water, but plan to continue protesting regardless.
PTI and PAT workers have instructed supporters to stay close to their leaders' respective vehicles.
Minor skirmishes continue, but for now, there is a lull in the violence.
8:30am: Bilawal Bhutto appeals for calm
Bilawal Bhutto posted a message on Twitter: "A sad & shameful day 4 Pakistan. All sides have handled this situation appallingly."
"I urge restraint & call on all parties to do their utmost to diffuse the situation."
8:15am: PIMS confirms one death
DawnNews correspondent Raza Bangash reports that one PAT supporter Naveed Razaq died today when water filled his lungs. He had fallen into a trench of water.
Reporting from PIMS hospital, the correspondent said that two FC personnel and several other policemen are also among the injured.
8:05am: 'Anarchy not revolution'
"This is anarchy, not a revolution. Imran Khan is responsible for this situation," political analyst Rasul Bakhsh Rais told DawnNews.
8:00am Imran cries 'attempted murder'
In a message posted on Twitter, PTI Chief Imran Khan said, " The way & amount of tear gas been used is illegal & is considered as an attempt of murder."
The tweet was posted by his social media team.
"We will register FIR of murder against Namaz & Ch Nisar today."
7:45am All hell breaks loose in Islamabad Red Zone
7:35am: Bloody Sunday?
|— Screengrabs of ongoing clahses between protesters and police|
7:30am: 300 injured
AFP reports that at least 300 people have been injured as a result of the clashes between protesters and police.
7:15am: First death reported
The first death in the protest is confirmed - a male protester in his 40s drowned after falling into a ditch filled with water in the Red Zone. The ditch was apparently dug up for the Metro bus project.
7:10am: Clash continues
|Supporters of Canadian cleric Tahir ul Qadri return a tear gas shell towards police during clashes with security forces in Islamabad. Photo by AFP|
7:05am: Keeping the media out?
DawnNews reports that media persons are being told to move back and not cover the ongoing clash.
IG Islamabad has directed the media to stop coverage and move to the sidelines, DawnNews correspondent Yasir Malik reports.
7:00am: Hospital update
PIMS Director Dr Javaid Akram says it cannot be confirmed at this stage whether real bullets were used in the clashes.
6:55am: Protesters, police injured
PIMS spokesperson Dr Waseem Khawaja has confirmed that a total of 208 injured were brought to the hospital.
He told DawnNews that out of the total injured admitted to the hospital, three were termed critical. He added that two were put on the ventilator.
Dr Khawaja said that the injured include 35 women, five children and 130 men. “A total of 37 police personnel were also brought to the hospital,” he said.
When asked about the nature of the wounds, he said that medical experts will decide if the wounds were sustained due to live or rubber bullets.
6:50am: Lone policeman thrashed by protesters
6:40am: Imran emerges
PTI Chairman emerges atop the mobile container. He blasts the government, says each person responsible for the day's clashes will be held accountable.
"Chaudhry Nisar is a Gullu Butt," he alleged.
"Inshallah, this march will continue...people are gathering from all over Pakistan" Imran said.
The PTI Chairman made further appeals for supporters to come to the Red Zone.
"We are standing here, we are going nowhere," a charged Imran says.
"Your sacrifices will not be in vain."
Imran reiterates his promise that today will be the final day "of the war".
6:30am: PTI joins revolution march
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak has said that PTI and PAT now have a joint strategy for revolution.
He said that the government had compelled them towards a revolution. “Now with revolutionists, we will also become revolutionists.”
KP CM said that the government comprised of thugs, not politicians. “We are ready for sacrifices. We have proof.”
When asked by a reporter why his party did not take the judicial route, Khattak lashed out. “Your question suggests that you have also joined our opponents,” he said.
Khattak slammed the media for its alleged "lack of independence" in reporting the ongoing crisis.
6:25am: Aerial surveillance
Helicopters are encircling Parliament house as protesters continue to press forward, only to be pushed back by police action.
The early morning has seen multiple pitched battles already.
6:00am: MQM urges dialogue
In a statement issued to the media, MQM Chief Altaf Hussain said the firing, shelling and torture of protesters was inappropriate and regrettable.
He said that the government had to avoid the use of force against protesters at every cost.
The MQM chief said the government is responsible for calming the sentiments of people and taking effective measures to safeguard lives.
He urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to invite Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf head Imran Khan, Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Tahirul Qadri and heads of other political parties for direct dialogue without wasting any more time.
5:50am: Violent clashes break out
PTI and PAT workers are attempting to move forward, pelting stones and brandishing sticks as they move forward.
Security forces are retaliating with tear gas shelling.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar telephoned MQM Chief Altaf Hussain to discuss the events unfolding in Islamabad. Altaf expressed grief over the use of force employed by the government against protesters.
Tear gas shelling continues as the sun begins to rise on another day of protests.
5:12am: 'Armed with axes, hammers, cutters'
Islamabad police chief Khalid Khatak told the BBC that close to 100 protesters had been arrested at the scene.
"Many of them were armed with axes, hammers and cutters, and I'm sure they also have firearms though we haven't seen one yet," he said.
Qadri's point of view
They are launching bloody attacks, Tahirul Qadri tells a private TV channel.
"This sea of people has remained peaceful for weeks. No one picked up even a stone. They have stayed in Islamabad for a total of 17 days as a peaceful group. It will remain peaceful."
5:03am: Imran rallies his troops
PTI Chairman releases a new statement - says today is a decisive day. He calls on supporters to come join the protest.
PTI representative Naz Baloch claims female supporters of her party are distraught as their children - as young as six months old - are missing.
"Nawaz Sharif should come to PIMs hospital and see how these women are sobbing - he has lost the right to govern this country."
4:45am: Battle intensifies
Shelling has intensified in the Red Zone - the protest site looks like a battle field, DawnNews correspondent Samar Abbas reports.
"To what extent can the government control these mobs?" PTI's Arif Alvi asks, while blaming the government for the current state of affairs.
4:29am: Police resort to shelling again
Police have once again resorted to using tear gas against protesters who made a fresh attempt to move towards PM house.
Police have been instructed to disperse the protesters and keep them away from the building.
PTI's Arif Alvi: "When police use tear gas or shelling, protesters will pick up rocks. The government must withdraw from this battle."
“A state can't be left at the mercy of some thousand people,” Nawaz Sharif's spokesman Asif Kirmani says in an interview.
4:28am: MQM plans peaceful day of mourning
“To every action there is a reaction. Altaf Bhai has been advocating restraint [from both sides] and not displays of strength,” said MQM’s Wasay Jalil told Dawn.com from London.
“Our day of mourning tomorrow will be totally peaceful.”
Editorial: A disastrous turn of events
The very idea that a few thousand baton-wielding protesters can march towards Prime Minister House without some explicit assurances behind the scenes is absurd.
Quite what those assurances are and what the endgame ultimately is will be known soon, perhaps overnight or in a day or two.
The biggest question: can Nawaz Sharif survive?
The answer, in these frantic hours, must surely be a miserable, despondent no.
4:13am: Situation 'well handled' Maryam Nawaz says
Maryam Nawaz Sharif, on Twitter:
"It wasn't easy dealing with a mob carrying weapons,hell bent on destruction but govt acted cautiously & wisely. Alhamdolillah no fatalities."
"Well handled by the govt. PM NS showed remarkable restraint all along ensuring no one is fired at & women & children given safe exit."
3:58am: Asma Jehangir blasts protesters
Speaking on DawnNews a fired up Asma Jehangir was extremely critical of the protesters and their leaders:
"They [PTI] must be brave, or absolutely foolish...these people want to become prime minister?"
"Afzal Khan is zero plus zero plus zero plus zero."
"Allama Qadri may be the Allama of his own house."
|A supporter of Tahir ul-Qadri, Sufi cleric and leader of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) political party, prays while wearing a gas mask - Reuters|
3:56am: Police attacked PTI leaders: Shafqat Mahmood
PTI's Shafqat Mahmood: “We were attacked. Police attacked our cars. Asad Umer, Shireen Mazari , Arif Alvi were all present. We are going to lodge an FIR against these people.”
3:49am: Attempted arrest of MWM leader
Police has issued arrest orders for MWM's Raja Nasir Abbas. The MWM leader's car windows were reportedly smashed during the attempted arrest.
3:47am: 'Dialogue dialogue dialogue' Zardari urges
Former President Asif Ali Zardari:
Both parties should settle political crisis through dialogue.
Dialogue, dialogue and only dialogue' is the best way to settle the political standoff.
3:43am: Protesters at PM Secretariat
The protesters have now reached the main gate of the PM Secretariat.
Legal expert Asma Jehangir: Protest leaders should have realised what would happen. If protesters try to come to my house, will I let them enter? The police used tear gas and rubber bullets. The government should have communicated.... their communication has been very weak.
|Riot police run after a supporter of Tahir ul-Qadri, Sufi cleric and leader of political party Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), outside the parliament house - Reuters|
3:22am: IG Islamabad says all action 'legal'
Islamabad IG Khalid Khattak praised police forces in the handling of this situation.
He said all action was taken in accordance with the law.
"If you [protesters] come beyond a certain point, we have a plan in place".
2:48am: 25 policemen injured
25 policemen are among those injured in Islamabad.
Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen has also announced that it will be holding countrywide sit-ins, DawnNews reported.
"Pakistanis, till we don’t get the resignations of these two brothers – we will not leave!" Imran Khan says.
2:40am: Ch Shujaat taken ill
PML-Q's Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has reportedly taken ill on account of tear-gas shelling.
PML-Q's Kamil Ali Agha clarified that Chaudhry Shujaat was not hit by a tear gas shell.
"Chaudhry Shujaat was in a car and when the shelling began, one of the female activists in the area passed out due to tear gas shelling. Shujaat offered to take the activist for treatment and when the door of his vehicle was opened, the tear gas resulted in his taking ill."
2:30am: 'Turn back over our dead bodies'
Imran Khan's container was headed towards Parliament House but when shelling intensified, the PTI decided to return to D-chowk and hold a sit-in outside Parliament House until Nawaz resigns.
PTI's turn upset PAT supporters. They said PTI could only turn back over the bodies of Qadri's supporters.
PML-N's Mushahidullah Khan: PTI and PAT violated their pledge of abiding by the law, he said, adding that both parties used women and children as human shields.
Khan said those who make their intention of attacking the parliament and the PM House clear cannot be regarded as peaceful.
Khan said if the government hadn't acted against the marching protesters, people would have asked questions about the government's writ.
2:17am: 230 injured
Wasim Khawaja, spokesman for the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences hospital in Islamabad, told AFP that 164 injured people have been taken to his hospital, while the Polyclinic hospital said it had received 70 wounded so far.
30,000-40,000 personnel from police, FC and other law enforcement agencies are deployed in the area at large.
Police commandos deployed at the gates of Parliament were taken off duty yesterday, sources say.
The 111 Brigade was not taken into confidence over the removal of the police commandos, they added.
2:02am: JI lament turn of events
Liaquat Baloch, Secretary General JI says: It's unfortunate to see the situation as I am myself a political worker. The nation is upset over the way the events of this evening have transpired. If both sides remain stubborn, nothing will come out of this.
Law enforcement personnel should stop attacking protests and leaders should direct their protesters to stop the violence.
1:59am: PTI move to Parliament
PTI has decided to bring Imran Khan's container right in front of Parliament's main gate.
PTI's Shafqat Mehmood claims no PTI worker is inside Parliament house.
The number of injured has risen to 139 - 64 at Polyclinic and 75 at PIMS.
1:56am: Condemnation for PTI, PAT action
PPP's Shehla Raza says: PPP's stance is very clear that to collect a number of people and then enforce one's view on the elected Parliament is not the way. Those who think that they can manipulate the people and abuse the Constitution are wrong. The view from all those with democratic credentials has condemned both Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri.
She adds that the PPP agrees with the government's action against protesters.
1:47am: Raiwind sealed
All routes leading to Raiwind have been sealed with shipping containers, DawnNews reported.
Nawaz Sharif is currently at his residence in Raiwind.
Security in Lahore is on high alert after the administration's directives. A large contingent of police has also been deployed on the way leading from main Lahore city towards Raiwind.
Protesters in Lahore and Karachi are burning tyres with Karachi's main artery Shahrah-i-Faisal blocked by angry demonstrators.
1:45am: Trained terrorists, Khwaja Asif claims
“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,” defence minister Khawaja Asif told AFP.
“These are buildings that are symbols of the state,” he said. “Their attempts are being resisted. And we will resist these with full force."
National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq told DawnNews that the sanctity of Parliament will be protected at all costs and those who have attacked the House will be held accountable.
The government has prepared a security plan and the interior ministry has been directed to clear Constitution Avenue of protesters as soon as possible. The government has directed all law enforcement agencies to make sure that protesters are not fired at and that force used is not out of proportion.
The prime minister is in the loop on all the goings on and the interior minister is himself managing the situation on the ground in Islamabad.
|Injured cop, took a stone to the head, and then returned to the line after getting patched up - @WajSKhan/Twitter|
1:41am: Musharraf 'appalled'
Pervez Musharraf on Facebook and Twitter:
I am appalled to witness the attack by the Government on unarmed and peaceful protestors that include women and children and I vehemently condemn it. Resorting to force will not suppress the movement for change the people of Pakistan have embarked upon. It is time the Nawaz government should accept that it has lost the moral authority to govern.
1:40am: Protest spreads across Islamabad
Liberty market under attack. Shops looted. Protesters on a rampage, senior journalist Talat Hussain says on Twitter.
1:39am: Protests spread to Karachi, Lahore
A number of protesters are very close to the walls of the Prime Minister House.
PTI activists have come out on Karachi's Numaish chowrangi to protest police action against demonstrators in Islamabad.
At Lahore's Liberty chowk, protesters are demonstrating against government action.
DawnNews is reporting that Imran Khan's mobile container is moving ever closer to PM House.
Most of the protesters up front are from PAT however.
|Screengrab of Imran atop container|
1:31am: 100 injured
At least 100 people have been confirmed injured in the ongoing violent clashes that have lasted over three hours.
|Soldiers take position near the Prime minister's residence after clashes with opposition in Islamabad on August 30, 2014. AFP|
1:30am: Advance continues
Umair Rana reports: It's absolute havoc here and Tahirul Qadri's supporters are trying to march forward but shelling from the police is deterring their movement. I can hear intense firing and tear gas is also being continually fired at the protesters.
A number of ambulances are at the scene to transport any injured to hospitals.
A large number of PAT activists have entered Parliament House and female PAT activists have said they won't go back until their goals are accomplished.
|Opposition protesters shout anti-government slogans as they try to move toward the Prime Minister's residence - AFP|
1:24am: PTI plans to go all the way
PTI workers interviewed by DawnNews say they are planning to continue protesting and are ready to go "all the way".
Police have however managed to hold the protesters at bay, so far.
Firing and tear gas shelling continues.
1:12am: Imran's container reaches PM house
Imran's container is right near the PM house gate. Tahirul Qadri's car is right behind.
Arresting Imran won't be so easy, although the administration may be considering it.
Shelling is still ongoing and a number of people have been injured.
1:09am: Qadri, Imran may be arrested
Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri may be arrested, DawnNews reported.
Reporter Sanaullah said the administration is seriously considering the idea given how the situation has taken a turn for the worse.
The parliament will be protected at all costs, the administration has said, adding that if protesters try to enter the parliament building itself then the administration will ensure that action is taken to prevent that.
Police has been directed to keep an eye on both leaders and close in on them and if the situation deteriorates further then the two may be arrested.
Over 100 protesters have been arrested and shifted to various police stations.
PTI protesters are reportedly backing off, while PAT supporters continue to advance.
Correspondent Irfan Haider who was present at D-chowk when the protesters started moving towards PM House said that as Qadri and Imran called on activists to advance, police personnel were charged.
Policemen struck their shield with batons in a chorus, with some chanting pro-government slogans. In return, Qadri supporters started to yell “Allah o Akbar”.
The policemen standing in the precincts of the PM House fired tear gas shells to disperse protesters advancing towards the building.
Protesters dragged two policemen into the crowd.
Tahirul Qadri speaking to DawnNews on phone: We are in the thick of it, in the middle of the situation.
Qadri was asked by DawnNews anchorwoman Meher Bokhari as to why he wasn't seen to be leading from the front. The line cut upon the question.
12:58am: Protesters enter Parliament house
DawnNews reports that charged protesters have now entered Parliament House. They are reportedly breaking their way in.
Imran's container has pulled up right next to Parliament, despite massive ongoing shelling.
DawnNews also reports that loudspeakers are encouraging protesters forward.
12:56am: Qadri rides out the clashes
Tahirul Qadri appears to be sitting pretty in his bullet proof vehicle.
12:51am: Shelling near Imran's container
Shelling by police personnel has once again started near the mobile shipping container that Imran Khan and other leaders from the PTI are stationed.
Helicopters hovering over the Red Zone are conducting aerial surveillance of the clash between police and protesters on the ground.
|Inside Imran's container - @aqibmughal89/Twitter|
A car has reportedly crashed into the Parliament building's gate.
PAT's Khurram Nawaz Gandapur: “The government has sent people to kill the leaders will snipers.”
12:39pm: 'No deaths'
Saira Afzal Tarar of PML-N: We do not have reports of critical injuries. One woman had difficulty breathing because of tear gas but she is now stable. According to my information, Dr Ayesha has said that there have been no reports to death.
12:35am: Clashes intensify, Imran says fight to continue
We will continue to fight against the government, till our last breath PTI Chairman announces.
Imran Khan described the police's action against the crowd as illegal. “Now we will show this government, we will call for countrywide agitation and we will jam the whole of Pakistan".
Clashes have turned violent again. Security forces are resorting to aerial firing.
They fired tear gas shells at us,” said Ahsanullah Fakhri, 28, who was bleeding from his leg, as he exited an ambulance with some seven other protesters who had multiple minor wounds.
“I think they are also firing some bullets, I think rubber bullets,” he added.
12:30am: 68 people injured
Clashes have erupted again.
Irfan Haider reports from PolyClinic Hospital: 68 people – police and activists from PAT and PTI - have been injured from rubber bullets, baton and stone pelting. There are no women; all men between the ages of 20 and 35.”
12:22am: MQM calls on Nawaz to resign
MQM chief Altaf Hussain has demanded Nawaz Sharif to voluntarily resign from his position, DawnNews reported.
K-P Chief Minister Pervez Khattak: We are not going into any building, not going into any house not breaking anything. Chaudhry Nisar is a coward the government is afraid. All of Pakistan should come out and throw these people out.
|An army soldier stands alert near the prime minister's residence in Islamabad, Aug 30, 2014. — Photo by AP|
12:20am: PTI still headed to PM house
Police still shelling protesters, using rubber bullets.
PTI's Shafqat Mehmood: We are in the container we go up but its impossible to stand out here for over three minutes. We are going up in turns. Imran has just been up. We are going to continue to march to the PM House.
12:15am: Where is Qadri?
Allama Nasir Abbas of the Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen when asked where Qadri was said the PAT chief was among the protesters.
The statement came as questions began to spring as to the whereabouts of Qadri who has not been seen since the events took a turn for the violent.
Questions are also being asked over Imran Khan’s whereabouts.
12:10am: Dozens injured
Dozens are reportedly injured and arriving at Polyclinic.
Three policemen have also been injured so far.
12:05am: DawnNews cameraman injured
Cameramen DawnNews Ashfaque says he is injured, and police hit him with batons.
“They said, he is a media man, hit him too.”
“When the protesters advanced towards the PM House I was covering the event. They said he is a media man, strike him. They shot me with [rubber] bullets.”
12:01am: Six injured confirmed
Wasim Raja, a spokesman for the government-run Pakistan Institute for Medical Sciences, Islamabad's main government hospital, said: “We have received six people, they have rubber bullet injuries. “Television pictures showed police in riot gear and some bloodied protesters being carried to ambulances.
“The police are continuing to fire tear gas to disperse them,” an AFP journalist at the scene said, adding that the shelling began when the protestors tried to remove some barricades located in front of the residences of the prime minister and president using cranes.
11:58pm: MQM announces day of mourning
MQM has announced of a Youm-i-soug to be observed on Sunday, DawnNews reported.
MQM's Haider Abbas Rizvi, one of the members of the mediating committee with the PAT, speaking to DawnNews said:
“The situation right now is extremely painful. There is no Pakistani right now whose hand is not on his heart. Our effort was to prevent a law and order situation for which the government will have to use force. Now we have no choice but to stand with the victims. For this reason, the MQM has announced a countrywide strike.”
|Scene from the protest - AP Photo|
11:53pm: 'Policemen have been shot'
Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal speaking to DawnNews said: “I want to first express sadness that we negotiated with PTI and they assured us that they would speak with us tomorrow and not take a step.”
Ahsan Iqbal: Policemen have been shot – this means these activists have used bullets. If police is fired at and if they are hurt then they will fire in self-defense. We should all condemn these two groups who have crossed all limits. The police told them to stop but they crossed the red lines.
Questioned as to whether Chaudhry Nisar had issued the arrest warrants for Tahirul Qadri, Iqbal refrained from commenting and said he had no direct knowledge of any such development.
Some news channels are reporting up to seven deaths so far.
11:49pm: Policemen captured
At least two policemen have been captured by enraged protesters.
It's not the state's responsibility to protect those who attack the state, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told a TV channel, adding that protesters had crossed the red line and it had become necessary for the state to respond.
|Pakistani protesters run for cover during clashes near prime minister's home in Islamabad - AP|
11:45pm: Police told to surround Qadri's vehicle
Police have reportedly been instructed by the government to surround Dr Tahirul Qadri's vehicle
Police are now moving forward while pushing the protesters and have now been ordered to baton charge them.
Those who live by the sword will die by the sword, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said speaking to a private television channel. We were not going to allow anyone to cross red lines, he said, adding that those who will use the language of violence will be responded to with the same language.
11:43pm: More fires, more gas
PTI has announced a countrywide strike Sunday (tomorrow).
Supporters have set fire to unidentified objects as police personnel continue to disperse crowds with tear gas.
Majlis Wahdat ul Muslimeen's Alama Nasir Abbas - an ally of PAT - tells DawnNews: "All our leadership is standing outside. I was walking myself and standing right in front. We had announced that we will remain peaceful. But these barbarians do not rest till they kill people."
11:38pm: PTI announces strike
In light of violence breaking out at the protests, the PTI has announced a strike tomorrow.
Some 400 activists of PAT and PTI are still pelting stones at law enforcement forces, while the rest of them have been pushed back to their former location in front of Parliament.
A media person and two policemen have also been injured and taken to Polyclinic Hospital.
11:35pm: Fires break out
Fires have broken out in a few areas of the protest site.
Shelling continues, and there are reports of multiple wounded workers. One female protester has allegedly died so far.
Protesters are still hurling stones at security personnel.
11:30pm: 'police will protect institutions'
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar speaking to reporters in the Red Zone said, “This group has sidelined all its commitments and marched towards PM House. This police has taken an oath to protect state institutions.”
11:30pm: 'There is a limit'
Khawaja Asif, Defence Minister:
“Every kind of action will be taken to clear this area. Is this a peaceful protest? These people have sticks, we have only used tear gas...There is a limit to everything. We allowed them to enter the Red Zone despite a written statement.”
11:28pm: Scenes of violence
11:21pm: 'Government's responsibility now'
Liquat Baloch of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), speaking to DawnNews, regretted the current unrest in the federal capital saying it was now the government’s responsibility to diffuse the situation. He urged both the sides to show restraint.
Channels are reporting that Islamabad's deputy commissioner has authorised police to use rubber bullets and tear gas.
The tear gas shelling began when the protesters tried to remove some barricades in front of the building as well as other key government buildings.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has reportedly reached the scene.
11:15pm: No danger of martial law: Rasheed
Five PAT supporters have reportedly been injured and shifted to hospital. Police personnel are pushing protesters from advancing towards government buildings.
Yasir Malik from Islamabad reports that several women have been injured as a result of shelling.
There is no danger in the country till there is martial law, Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed says.
PML-N's Marvi Memon: The supporters lost the Red Zone, now they have crossed the red line. But those saying they would take the first bullet are not visible.
Tahirul Qadri had earlier said that when the first bullet is fired, he would be in the line of fire.
11:11pm: Workers taken to hospital
Ambulance sirens can be heard near the PM Secretariat, as protesters run away from hundreds of police personnel wielding shields and batons.
Injured workers are being moved to Polyclinic. DawnNews reports tear gas shelling continues.
Tahirul Qadri claims that one female worker has died.
11:08pm: Where are the leaders?
DawnNews correspondent reports that Dr Tahirul Qadri is currently safe in his bullet proof car.
The location of PTI Chairman Imran Khan is unknown.
Khan and Qadri called for the demonstration to move to the house from a massive rally Saturday in front of the parliament, where they have been staging a sit-in for days.
Some 20,000 police in riot gear are charged with blocking the procession. In speeches, Khan and Qadri say they will remain peaceful and urged security forces to abstain from using force against the protesters.
Speaking to participants of their respective sit-ins, they urged them to show restraint and march peacefully towards the PM House.
Dr Qadri called upon PTI protesters and chairman Imran Khan to move along with them.
PTI Chairman Khan later announced to join the PAT marchers and urged his supporters to move towards the PM House peacefully. He told women participating in the protest that they should not panic and stay calm.
Heavy contingents of police and security forces deployed in Islamabad's Red Zone resorted to teargas and fire rubber bullets at the protesters, local TV channels reported.
Strong words from Defence Minister
Reacting to the development, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif warned marchers against taking law into their own hands. He said that contingents of Pakistan Army deployed at Constitution Avenue were under ministry of interior.
Asif vowed that Army would protect all government institutions.
Meanwhile, commander of the 111 brigade at the Constitution Avenue has directed policemen not to fire upon protesters marching towards the PM House.
Credible security sources told Dawn.com that military and police high ups held a meeting to finalise their security plan to stop protesters from marching towards PM House. It was decided by the military that use of force would be avoided and no guns would be used against peaceful protesters.
A government spokesman has categorically stated that there is no question of resignation or proceeding on leave by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, nor any member from the government side has made such suggestion.
PTI President Javed Hashmi has reportedly left the scene after developing differences with the party leadership. He was apparently unhappy about the decision of marching on the PM House, DawnNews reported.
Addressing Hashmi, Imran Khan vowed not to derail democracy in the country.
Speaking to the media, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain urged law enforcers and security forces to refrain from opening fire on the marchers. He also urged PM Sharif to show flexibility and negotiate with the two protesting parties.
Earlier, speaking to the protesters, Dr Qadri strongly condemned the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for violating basic human rights to poor masses of the country.
He called on stage mother and brother of a girl who he claimed was gang-raped in Dera Ghazi Khan and committed suicide later. Dr Qadri condemned the incident, saying it highlights plight of the underprivileged in the country.
He then asked his supporters to pray for them and vows to take revenge from the rulers. “Daughters of the nation are dishonoured in this country,” he said.
Referring to PM Sharif’s statement followed by Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Syed Khursheed Shah’s press conference mirroring the premiers claim that they will safeguard democracy, Qadri said that ‘looters’ have realised the days of their ‘fake democracy’ are numbered.
Imran flays PM Nawaz for 'defaming' military
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Saturday lambasted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for suggesting that the PTI has the support of the military in its anti-government protest.
In a mid-day address to supporters gathered at D-chowk — the venue for the PTI’s protracted dharna — Imran said Nawaz was attempting to “defame the army by saying it is supporting Imran Khan”.
“A man who was raised in General Zia’s nursery is telling me the army is supporting me,” Imran scoffed.
Directly addressing Nawaz, Imran added, “And the same army that made you… you have been maligning it for four months and saying that the army is behind it all… that General Zaheer is doing it.”
Referring to himself in the third person, Imran said, “Imran Khan has been saying for 14 months to open the four seats. I had even accepted this rigged election, but had asked merely for the opening of these four constituencies. When you closed all doors, I had announced that if I don’t get legal respite I will come out on the streets – was the army telling me [to do all] this?”
He lambasted Nawaz was “first ridiculing the army” and later “lying on the floor of the National Assembly”. He reminded his supporters that this is not “Imran Khan’s war”, but is instead Pakistan’s struggle.
“I will not have any personal gain from victory or defeat. What difference does it make to me if I am PM or not? God has given me enough respect.”
He said he will announce the next step in this campaign later in the evening, and that his decision will be “peaceful and within the ambit of the constitution”.
“I am fighting for my country, not myself. Nawaz is fighting to protect his wealth,” he said.
Earlier today: Nawaz scoffs at 'sea of empty chairs' in Islamabad
Seeming to have held his ground in the battle of nerves under way in the capital since August 14, Nawaz, who was speaking to reporters in Lahore, ridiculed PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri’s often cited idiom of the “roaring sea of supporters” in the capital, saying the firebrand cleric's dharna had become "a sea of empty chairs".
The prime minister, who appeared to be in a jocular mood, reiterated his position that there was no question of giving in to the “unacceptable demands” of the protesting parties.
Upon directives of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, party activists and supporters have staged a protest sit-in in front of Insaf House near Nursery, blocking traffic at Karachi's busiest Sharae Faisal road.
– Additional reporting by Mateen Haider from Islamabad