Pakistan calls in the army to tackle violent protests

Political motives behind sit-in, ISI tells Supreme Court

Seemingly emboldened by the failure of the government to clear the protests, which have almost paralysed the capital, Khadim Hussain Rizvi - the firebrand cleric who leads the Tehreek-e Labbaik Pakistan party - has called for protesters to bring the whole country to a halt.

CNN reported more than 250 people were injured and at least two people died during the protests.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority told TV channels not to broadcast footage of the operation and took all channels off air.

The developments come hours after, amid tough resistance and nationwide protests, security forces suspended the crackdown on the Islamabad protesters, who had been blocking the main entrance from the city of Rawalpindi to the capital since early November.

The operation was launched after Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued contempt of court notice against Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal as he failed to clear the roads off the protesters.

DawnNews reported that protesters tried to break into the residence of former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in Faizabad.

Protests also broke out in Lahore and Karachi, as well as smaller towns. The media blackout was followed by suspension of services of popular social networking sites - Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Читайте также: J&K Police Reiterates Its Offer For Local Militants to Surrender During Encounter

Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa talked to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and asked him for a peaceful solution to the problem.

"Patients dying for want of access to hospitals, traders crying for lack of business activity, students are being deprived from their right to education and [the] right of free movement of nearly six million people of [the] twin cities [is being] usurped", he said.

The protesters belonging to religious parties - Tehreek-i-Khatm-i-Nabuwwat, Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) and the Sunni Tehreek Pakistan (ST) -are calling for the sacking of Law Minister Zahid Hamid and strict action against those behind the amendment to the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat oath in the Elections Act 2017.

Dozens were arrested. Over 8,000 security personnel engaged in the operation against around 2,000 protesters, a report said.

"We can see that they have various resources at their disposal".

TRT World spoke to Pakistani journalist Kamran Yousaf who says the protests are spreading to other parts of the country.

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