News / Asia

    Reports: Hundreds Injured in Islamabad Protests

    Pakistani protesters run during clashes near prime minister's home in Islamabad, Aug. 30, 3014.
    Pakistani protesters run during clashes near prime minister's home in Islamabad, Aug. 30, 3014.
    Ayaz Gul

    More than 300 people have been reported injured in clashes between police and anti-government protesters in Islamabad.

    The clashes broke out Saturday when thousands of protesters who have been camping outside parliament for two weeks demanding that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif step down, tried to storm his home in the capital, using cranes to remove barricades.

    Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

    The protesters are part of two separate mass rallies organized by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and firebrand cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri. They have alleged massive fraud in the May 2013 election that saw Sharif sweep to power with a huge majority.

    The prime minister rejects calls for his ouster as unconstitutional, and his attempts to find a negotiated end to the political crisis have not succeeded.

    International observers have said the vote was largely free and fair.

    The stalemate provoked rally leaders late Saturday to call for the demonstration to move toward the nearby official residence of the prime minister, who was away in his home city of Lahore at the time. Shortly after they began the march and started removing shipping containers used as barricades, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets.

    The crackdown forced the protesters, some armed with clubs, to retreat, and hospital officials confirmed receiving scores of people, including police officers, with “minor and major wounds.”

    Warnings issued

    A ruling party lawmaker, Marvi Memon, says the government had been repeatedly and sternly warning protesters against crossing “mutually agreed red lines.”

    “When the protesters tried to break the gate of the presidency, when the protesters tried to break the gates of Pakistan Secretariat, then of course action had to be taken and the writ of the state had to be established," she said. "Nowhere in the world is it allowed that protesters are allowed to enter government buildings.”

    The trouble is taking place in an area that houses offices of the prime minister, president and other key government buildings. Foreign diplomatic missions are also located not far from where Saturday night’s clashes took place.

    Calls for nationwide protests

    Khan urged his supporters to extend the protest to the rest of Pakistan. The cricketer-turned-politician wants electoral reforms and new elections, alleging that massive rigging helped Sharif win last year’s parliamentary polls.

    Qadri wants the prime minister out for similar reasons, but is demanding the installation of a so-called national unity government. The cleric also is seeking justice for the murder of 14 followers in a June police crackdown.

    Some critics suspect the powerful army is behind the political unrest because it is unhappy with Sharif for putting the former military chief, Pervez Musharraf, on trial for high treason. Some say the move stems from Musharraf’s ouster of Sharif in the 1999 coup.

    Since taking office about 14 months ago, Prime Minister Sharif has faced criticism for failing to deliver on campaign promises of reviving the national economy and addressing chronic power shortages.

    His appointment of cronies and family members to key government positions is also cited as a key reason for the protests.

    Some information for this report comes from AP, Reuters.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: sfox from: United Kingdom
    August 30, 2014 10:00 PM
    Voa staff notify editorial staff thtvur writer hs lied blatantly re rigging not taken place showing bias ..y did he not write tht ths week afzal khan 2nd in election commission on recird big news in Pakistan named many ppl involved and int minister ch nisar khan admitted huge bogus votes as 2 y writer is misleading the readers has it as been reported by many news agencies tht $25mill ws handed 2 media 4 pro gov wtire ups voa muat take action. .remember accountability and transparency r key elements in democracies..so pls!

    by: sfox from: United Kingdom
    August 30, 2014 9:52 PM
    "Largely free and fair? Rubbish! interior minister admitted in parliament avg 60k votes per constituency cannot b verified thts 40% votes no2 in election commission ths week saidvit wsvthe biggest pre planned election in history of pak he implicated frm cheif justice an many othr big names VOA pls ask ur writer 2 b fair an not biased also $25mill givn 2 media personal by gov 3 wks ago 4 pro gov

    by: Amar Habib from: London UK
    August 30, 2014 7:32 PM
    Over 600+ Injured mostly women and children who were specifically targeted as they sat in the existing areas which they had occupied for 17 days at least 10 confirmed dead and counting (figures are being controlled but its likely to be much higher), situation is getting worse and spreading to all cities nationwide with brutal use of police force of heavy tear gas , rubber bullets and live rounds fired indiscriminately and at will. Heading toward civil war thanks to the Mafia members of Parliament namely Chaudhry Nisar & Nawaz Sharif. If action is not taken to stop the attack on women, children and the old/infirm who were seated in the targeted areas then it could be a massive NATO human rights situation in which Nawaz Sharif should be charged for genocide notwithsanding his other list of crimes against the state and people.
    In Response

    by: dzaamin from: usa
    August 30, 2014 9:47 PM
    It is so unfortunate that this has to happen.But what is the use lying about the facts.The protesters with sticks,and stones tried to attck the PM house and other sensitive buildings.And IK and Qadri are on record inciting the crowd to just do that.They have been forewarned about the consequences not to cross the red line.But these leaders of the protesters were belligerant and non-compromizing.They have been sitting and disturbing the function of government for over 2 weeks.Nobody bothered them even when they have already gone as far as the parliament house contrary to their agreement.And no deaths have been reported.So at least don't lie about the facts.Off course the Government had also bungled by what they did in Lahore. Maybe NS and SS should have quitted.But on the other hand IK and Qadri should have believed in give and take and not insisted on putting their followers at risk.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora