450 injured as protesters clash with police in Pakistan
Updated: 2014-09-01 09:44
ISLAMABAD - At least 450 people were injured when clashes broke out between police and protesters after a 17-day long peaceful sit-in in Pakistan's capital city of Islamabad on Saturday night, local media reported Sunday.
Local TV channel Abb Takk said that 240 injured people including six kids and 40 women were shifted to Pakistan institute of Medical Sciences while 210 others including five kids and 25 women were shifted to Poly Clinic hospital.
The injured people also included over 40 policemen and six journalists, said the report.
The clashes broke out when supporters of political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and prominent religious party Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) started marching toward the Prime Minister House to stage a sit-in there.
PAT's chief Tahir ul Qadri claimed that his party's seven workers were killed by the police and many others were brutally injured by steel and rubber guns.
PTI's chief Imran Khan said his one worker was killed and scores of others injured in clashes.
However, federal defense minister Khawja Asif rejected the claims by the opposition leaders, saying no one was killed in the clashes.
Independent sources from hospitals confirmed two fatalities including a woman.
The opposition leaders and local media reports said that clashes broke out when police shot teargas shells on the peaceful protesters marching in the capital's high security area Red Zone for staging a sit-in outside the Prime Minister house.
However, the country's Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar said that the protesters were carrying clubs in their hands and were aiming to enter sensitive government buildings.
During the clashes, some protesters also entered the Parliament House by breaking its outer barrier.
The protesters later retreated on the orders of personnel form Pakistan army who were deployed in the area for protecting the sensitive buildings.
Police has arrested over 500 workers and shifted them to undisclosed locations.
The PTI leadership has announced a countrywide protest on Sunday against the incident, while some other parties have supported the call.
Another opposition party, the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), demanded the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and also announced to observe one-day mourning on Sunday in the southern port city of Karachi.
Following the clashes, party workers of the PTI and PAT started protests and blocked main roads in other major cities, including Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad and Karachi.
Tens of thousands of supporters of the two parties started their two separate long marches from the eastern city of Lahore on Aug 14 and reached Islamabad on Aug 15.
The protesters later marched towards Red Zone on Aug 19 and staged a sit-in in front of the parliament.
Both parties held rounds of talks with the government for their demands that finally ended at impasse.
PTI chief Khan, whose party has 34 seats in the lower house, alleged Sharif for rigging in the 2013 general elections.
He has been demanding a probe into the rigging by a panel of the country's apex court followed by free and fair re-elections.
The PAT workers have been protesting for their 10-point agenda, including the resignation of the prime minister and the registration of a murder case against 21 persons, including the prime minister over police firing at protesters on June 17, 2014 in Lahore.