ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Former Prime Minister Imran Khan warns government to set new elections in coming six days, according to local media, or he will again march on the capital along with thousands of supporters.
On Wednesday, he led a rally of thousands of demonstrators towards the capital Islamabad against the opposition group, which ended with clashes between police and the protesters.
“I had decided that I will sit here until the government dissolves assemblies and announces elections, but of what I have seen in the past 24 hours, they (government) are taking the nation towards anarchy,” Khan said as Dawn news quoted.
The government earlier had summoned troops to guard important buildings, including the parliament and offices of the president and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The measures came following clashes between Khan’s supporters and police.
Khan in his address claimed that five of his supporters were killed in the violence across the country; but there was no immediate comment from the government about his claim.
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Khan along with thousands of his supports took on the streets to capital Islamabad to protest his downfall after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, touting a claim he was turned out from the office in a “foreign conspiracy”.
In a centerpiece showdown with his rivals, Khan had called for supporters of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party to gather in Islamabad and stage a sit-in until fresh elections are called, as France 24 wrote.
“No obstacle can stop us, we will cross all the barriers and will reach… Islamabad,” Khan declared, flanked by more than 20,000 supporters.
But the new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif pledged to stop the convoy from entering the city, blocking all major roads surrounding Islamabad with shipping containers.
While entry and exit points of major nearby cities – where a heavy security presence was in place – were also cut off, Sharif called the rally an attempt to “divide the nation and promote chaos”.
Khan joined the march in dramatic fashion, arriving in a helicopter that touched down on a motorway clogged with supporters outside the city of Mardan, 100 kilometres (62 miles) northwest of Islamabad, the France 24 wrote.
As the Khan’s supporters forced their way into the capital city, where shipping containers blocking the route were pushed to the side, sporadic clashes broke out between police and protesters who have tried to clear the roads with tear gas fired in several cities.