Protests turn ugly

* Woman killed, hundreds injured as PAT, PTI protesters clash with police on their way to PM's House for a sit-in * Forces fire tear-gas shells, rubber bullets to disperse protesters * Clashes erupt in various cities following Islamabad crackdown * MQM joins in; Imran, Altaf call for nationwide processions, strike today


ISLAMABAD: Hundreds got injured on Saturday night as thousands of charged protesters of Pakistani Awami Tehreek (PAT) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) clashed with police on their way to the Prime Minister’s House.  
Protesters entered the Parliament House by hitting the outer fence with a mini truck. However, they did not enter the building of the Parliament House until the filing of this report. 
PTI Chairman Imran Khan remained inside his container along with party leaders late in the night hours, and he rallied the workers around and vowed to reach the next destination of the sit-in outside the PM’s House. Several feet away, Dr Qadri also remained inside his vehicle as scores of women and male workers surrounded his vehicle.  
The Interior Ministry sources said police would finally arrest both Imran Khan and Dr Tahirul Qadri if they continued to march towards the PM’s House. 
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told media that the protesters would not be allowed to regroup at the respective sit-in venues at Constitution Avenue. A spokesman of Pakistan Institute for Medical Sciences (PIMS) said the hospital had received around 50 injured, including women and children. 
Dr Khurram, a spokesman of Polyclinic Hospital, said they have received 70 injured, including 20 women and most of them have received rubber bullet injuries. The PAT leadership claimed that one of its woman workers got killed in clashes with police, a development not confirmed by hospital sources and administration.  
The Interior Ministry sources said the new strategy of police and administration was to get the sit-in venues vacated at Constitution Avenue and not to let PAT and PTI workers regroup. As the protesters continued to clash with the police, most of the families sitting along the PTI sit-in camp at the parade ground near D-Chowk left the place in a panic.   
Kaptaan tried to address his dispersed workers from atop his container several times, but failed due to heavy clouds of tear gas. Police continued to fire tear gas shells after small intervals as security officials continued air surveillance through two helicopters that continued to hover over Constitution Avenue for several hours. 
The action started as Qadri and Imran Khan asked the twin sit-in marchers to join hands and camp outside the PM’s House late on Saturday night. Both the leaders, however, asked workers time and again to remain peaceful and march towards the PM’s House by aligning themselves in disciplined lanes. Imran Khan, however, restricted the women and children to proceed towards their destination, and instead join the male marchers once they establish a sit-in camp outside the PM’s House. But this was not the scene in the PAT camp as hundreds of women, girls, and even small children, were part of the contingent that marched on the road as Dr Qadri was tucked in between his procession riding his car. 
A government spokesman said the shelling was ordered as some baton wielding protestors tried to break the main gate of the Presidency after crossing the first layer of barriers. He said the protesters would not be allowed to enter PM’s House or any other government building. 
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan visited Constitution Avenue as soon as the police action started. He told media that the protesters wanted to enter government buildings. 
Islamabad DIG Dr Sultan Azam Taimuri said it had also been decided that PAT and PTI protesters would not be allowed to enter offices in Red Zone. 
Separately, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) announced to observe day of mourning on Sunday (today).
MQM leader Haider Abbas Rizvi said, “The situation at the moment is extremely painful. There is no Pakistani right now whose hand is not on his heart.”
Later, MQM chief Altaf Hussain demanded Nawaz to voluntarily resign from his position, according to reports.
Protests erupted across the country in the wake of police crackdown in Islamabad.

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