Breakdown of Islamabad after violent eruptions by Hardliners

ISLAMABAD Activists of the Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah shout slogans on a blocked flyover during the sit-in on Friday.—AFP

At least 8,000 police officers in riot gear and a paramilitary police force used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd of 2,000 protesters, according to a New York Times report.

Security forces fought running battles with stone-throwing activists of the ultra-religious Tehreek-e-Labbaik, but failed to dislodge the activists blocking roads into Islamabad.

News media also reported protesters breaking into the house of former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. Karachi Police said almost 200 protesters blocked a major road in the southern port.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority took private television stations off the air. A total of 54 people were reportedly delivered to hospitals, including 14 security officials as clashes between police and demonstrators erupted.

Sources revealed that despite the two-hour long discussion, no decision was reached while Islamabad police and administration advised against another operation against Faizabad sit-in including devotees of Sunni Tehreek and Tehreek-e-Labaik.

The protests spread to other cities in Pakistan, including Karachi, Lahore, Hyderabad and Faisalabad.

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal is yet to take any decision for further action with regard to operation against Faizabad sit-in and countrywide protests occurring in reaction.

Kulbhushan Jadhav's family members must not be "questioned or harassed"
Jadhav, we are determined to pursue all measures with full vigour so as to secure the final release of an innocent Indian". A military court in Pakistan had sentenced the 46-year-old to death on April 25 for "espionage and subversive activities".

Pakistan's media regulator barred local TV channels from broadcasting live images from the scene, though protesters were still using Facebook Live and other social media.

Taking note of a worsening situation, military chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa telephoned Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to call for the peaceful handling of the protest, according to a tweet by military spokesman Maj.

The protesters are demanding the resignation of federal law minister Zahid Hamid over a hastily abandoned amendment to the oath that election candidates must swear.

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

They reported that police arrested around 150 protesters, some with knives and pistols.

Later in the day, security forces appeared to face difficulty clearing the crucial intersection as more and more supporters joined protesters at the site, a bridge between the capital and Rawalpindi.

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