News / Asia

Anti-Government Protesters Reach Pakistan's Parliament

Pakistani Protesters Demand PM's Resignationi
August 20, 2014 4:13 AM
Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters marched on Pakistan's parliament Tuesday, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The demonstrations are led by two charismatic opposition leaders who claim that the ruling party rigged the 2013 election, which marked the country's first peaceful transfer of power between two civilian governments. Zlatica Hoke reports the demonstrators vow to continue.
Watch related video report from VOA's Zlatica Hoke.
VOA News

Thousands of anti-government protesters have reached Pakistan's parliament building, despite the government's efforts to keep them away.

The protesters, armed with wire cutters and at least one crane, early Wednesday managed to get past the barricade of shipping containers that Pakistani security forces put in place to protect Islamabad's so-called "Red Zone." That's where the parliament building is located.  In addition to parliament, the area houses many Western embassies and the homes of the president and prime minister.

Among the protesters are supporters of cricket-star-turned-politician Imran Khan and anti-government cleric Tahir ul-Qadri, who are calling on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign. But the government has ruled out any possibility of Sharif resigning.

Pakistan deployed hundreds of soldiers and up to 30,000 additional security personnel to the area ahead of Tuesday's march.

The protesters include supporters of cricket-star-turned-politician Imran Khan and anti-government cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri.

Demonstrators from both camps have been massed in the capital for days.

The demonstrators led by Khan want Sharif to step down over alleged fraud in last year's parliamentary elections. Qadri also wants Prime Minister Sharif ousted.

But the government has ruled out any possibility of Sharif resigning, criticizing the demand as unconstitutional.

Announcing Tuesday's march Monday, Khan told supporters of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party, or PTI, that the party -- parliament's third-largest political bloc -- would resign from the national parliament and three provincial legislatures.

Hours before the march, Pakistan's interior minister announced the government had decided to hand over the security of the Red Zone to the military. The announcement appeared intended to send the message that the military supports the government -- not the protesters.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

Survivor: Gunman Spared 'Lucky One' to Give Police Message

Law enforcement official says a manifesto of several pages was recovered; contents not revealed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
August 19, 2014 10:44 PM
Imran Khan could not perform well in Provincial Govt. How Pakistani can expect better results on Federal Level. He did not open new school, college, University, Health Clinic, Hospital. He did not improve security situation, good business climate, new investment. When his performance is Big Minus, then how he can claim PM Position. First of all show your efficiency then go for bigger position. He cannot select good wife and cannot live with second wife because of mental disturbance.

by: shakil1 from: multan pakistan
August 19, 2014 8:30 PM
both of them seem to have lost their reason. they can give nothing but trouble to the Pakistani people. let there be some stability in this god forsaken country,

by: Anonymous
August 19, 2014 3:53 PM
Imran khan has gone mad thats all

by: zaheer from: usa
August 19, 2014 1:39 PM
Really? prejudice......You are calling a country's law enforcement agency 'riot'...really? you wanna know what riot is? Ferguson, Missouri...that's where riot police is.....

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs