All roads leading to the Pakistani capital Islamabad were blocked on Wednesday before a large demonstration planned by ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan and his supporters.
Since being ousted from power in a no-confidence vote last month, Khan has rallied across the country to put pressure on the country’s fragile new coalition government.
The international cricket star-politician plans to lead thousands of people from his power base in the northwestern city of Peshawar to the capital on Wednesday to demand new elections – in a focal showdown with his rivals.
The coalition led by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has vowed to stop Sarkar Khan’s supporters from entering the city, calling the rally an attempt to “divide the nation and create chaos”.
On Tuesday, Home Minister Rana Sanaullah said “no one should be allowed to encircle the capital and dictate its terms.”
The main highway entry and exit points leading to the capital were cordoned off by police around the major cities near Peshawar, Lahore and Multan.
Islamabad police on Wednesday unveiled a traffic plan showing a complete blockade of the city and tight security presence.
On Tuesday, Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) accused police of arresting and detaining hundreds of his supporters in an overnight operation.
Lahore police sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that more than 200 supporters had been detained in connection with the riots.
The government and police said the protesters were planning to join the procession with weapons.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)