These leaders support Faizabad protesters

Posted November 26, 2017

Security forces arrested over 300 protesters - 150 in Islamabad alone - and took them to various police stations across Pakistan.

A statutory regulatory order (SRO) authorising the deployment of the Pakistan Army in Islamabad by Ministry of Interior on Saturday evening was verified as true.

Seemingly emboldened by the failure of the government to clear the protests, which have almost paralysed the capital, Khadim Hussain Rizvi - the firebrand cleric who leads the Tehreek-e Labbaik Pakistan party - has called for protesters to bring the whole country to a halt.

Security forces launched on Saturday a crackdown on religious protesters camping at Faizabad Intersection in Islamabad since November 8.

By midday, TV coverage had been cut off and private channels were off the air by orders of the official media regulator.

The protesters are demanding that law minister Zahid Hamid resign over a hastily-abandoned amendment to the oath that election candidates must swear. The government has apologized and denied making such a change, calling it a clerical mistake.

The demonstrators support the hardline Islamist cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi.

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Angry mobs earlier set fire to four police vans and attacked journalists, local broadcaster Geo News reported.

Police have also used water cannons to disperse the protesters after the capital was paralysed due to the sit-in which has been ongoing for nearly three weeks.

According to reports, police vehicles were targeted in the attack. The protesters have surrounded leadership and stopping police and Rangers. Lahore's entry and exist points have been blocked by the protesters.

After banning news channels, the government has also shut down social media websites including FaceBook, YouTube and Twitter. Traffic jam has choked arteries near Data Darbar.

News media also reported protesters breaking into the house of former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

A military spokesman said that army chief General Qamar Caved Bajwa talked to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on telephone and urged for peaceful solution to the problem.

The Islamabad High Court's scolding came one day after the Supreme Court also rejected the government's claim that using force on the protesters could result in injuries and deaths which would foment further unrest in the country.