Pakistan’s ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan broke up a protest rally on Thursday after clashes with police outside parliament the previous evening, but he warned that they would return if elections were not held within six days.
Khan said the confidence vote that toppled him and formed a coalition government led by Prime Minister Shavaz Sharif last month was the result of a US conspiracy and that he was demanding a new election to show that he had national support.
“I give you six days. You declare elections in six days,” Khan said from a truck after he and thousands of his supporters arrived in Islamabad. “Parliament should be dissolved for new elections in June.”
He warned the government to hold another procession in the capital if the demands were not met.
Khan rallied thousands of supporters in Islamabad, planning to seize sensitive parts of the capital until Sharif agrees to demand new elections.
I am giving 7 days to the importing government to dissolve the assembly and declare elections within these 7 days or else I will re-enter Islamabad with 2 million people inshaAllah. Imran KhanPTI# Salute to the marchers#Real_freedom_marchpic.twitter.com/z9Gu0kBbn6
– PTI (TIPTIofficial) May 26, 2022
The Supreme Court on Wednesday night directed the government to remove all blockades imposed by the police on the city’s entry and exit routes and to provide a special open space for Khan’s supporters to assemble.
Although the protesters did not follow the court’s order, hundreds of people marched on the center of the capital, where Khan and the main body of the rally were engaged in an ongoing battle with police just hours before entering the city.
Police fired tear gas and stabbed on Vanguard, a protest march and detained several hundred protesters who set fire to trees, vehicles, shops and a bus station, when they proceeded to the main street towards Parliament.
At least 18 police and paramilitary forces were injured as dozens of protesters stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck, according to Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb.
Clashes also broke out in several cities in the Punjab province and in the southern port city of Karachi.
The government says Khan’s walk is illegal and alleged
He wanted to bring protesters to Islamabad “evil.”
Police on Thursday began removing shipping containers used to block major roads entering and leaving the capital.
Roads leading to important civic sites, government offices and diplomatic missions have also been blocked, officials said.
And barriers were also set up across the entry and exit points in all the major cities of the Punjab and across the Grant Trunk Road, connecting the heartland province and north-west Pakistan.
(Reporting by Asif Shahzad; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)