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Police register murder case against PAT chief

LAHORE/MULTAN: Police registered a murder case on Sunday against Tahirul Qadri after three policemen were killed in clashes with his supporters ahead of a demonstration. The cleric called for protests on Sunday, saying he wants to bring down the government by the end of the month because it is corrupt. The Punjab law minister, where the clashes between the clerics’ supports and police erupted on Friday, said police were out to arrest him. “Qadri is responsible for killing police officials and his own workers. Police have booked him for terrorism and murders and will arrest him soon,” said the minister, Rana Mashhood Ahmad. A spokesman for Qadri said eight of his supporters had been killed and more than a 100 wounded in clashes with police over the past two days. On Sunday, hundreds of Qadri’s supporters stood outside his house in Lahore reciting the holy Quran as a helicopter rattled high overhead, apparently monitoring the crowd. The violence over the weekend has forced Qadri to change his plan for a big protest in Lahore on Sunday. Instead, he has called on his supporters to hold protests in their own towns in memory of 14 supporters he said were killed by police in June. They had clashed with police over security barricades around Qadri’s house. The demonstrations are due to begin later on Sunday. Police say they have arrested more than 500 of Qadri’s supporters over the past few days. They dragged many of them from their beds in the middle of the night, activists say. A week ago, the government deployed the military to protect key installations in the capital. Officials said it was to protect against Taliban attacks but protest leaders say it is an attempt to intimidate them. Opposition leader Imran Khan is also due to hold a separate protest on Thursday in Islamabad. Justice Muhammad Khalid Mahmood Khan of the Lahore High Court had on Saturday overruled the registrar office’s objection and ordered to fix before a bench for hearing a petition seeking arrest of Qadri. Petitioner Khurshid Alam had lodged a case against Qadri on the charges of inciting people to violence, waging war against the state and promoting terrorism. 

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