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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs