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

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

US Wildlife Service Begins Probe of Killing of Cecil the Lion

Minnesota man accused of killing beast is in hiding, has been asked to contact US officials; White House to review extradition petition More

Video Kerry Five-Nation Tour to Cover Security, Iran Nuclear Deal

Secretary of state will visit Egypt, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam to discuss security issues, Iran nuclear deal, Trans-Pacific Partnership 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs