Pakistan calls on army to restore order as blasphemy protests spread

Pakistan calls on army to restore order as blasphemy protests spread

Pakistan calls on army to restore order as blasphemy protests spread

They have fired tear gas shells [at security forces], they also cut the fibre optic cables of cameras that were monitoring their protest, " Dawn reported.

Pakistani police fought running battles on Saturday with stone-throwing activists of the ultra-religious Tehreek-e-Labaik party but failed to dislodge the activist who are blocking roads into Islamabad.

So far one police official was martyred in I-8 Sector during the clashes while almost 200 persons of both sides had been injured.

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) ordered the suspension of TV news channels' broadcast, stating that live coverage of a security operation was a violation of media regulations.

In Islamabad, thousands of security officials were deployed to break up the protests. Police have confirmed that at least two protesters are dead.

Pakistan's interior minister Ahsan Iqbal claimed that the protestors had "contacted India", and the government was investigating "why they did it", without giving further details about his claim.

The protesters, belonging to the Tehreek-e-Labbaik, broke into and ransacked the minister's haveli, Express News reported.

Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa talked to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and asked him for a peaceful solution to the problem.

The protesters are demanding that law minister Zahid Hamid resign over a hastily-abandoned amendment to the oath that election candidates must swear.

"Patients dying for want of access to hospitals, traders crying for lack of business activity, students are being deprived from their right to education and [the] right of free movement of nearly six million people of [the] twin cities [is being] usurped", he said.

TRT World spoke to Pakistani journalist Kamran Yousaf who says the protests are spreading to other parts of the country.

"We can see that they have various resources at their disposal".

Around 150 protesters were arrested since the clashes erupted, the authorities said.

Scores of protesters also came out on the roads in various cities, including Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, and other cities of Punjab, and in the Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, to protest the crackdown in Islamabad.

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