The Pakistani government on Tuesday banned a planned protest rally by ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is demanding fresh elections as the political and economic crisis in the South Asian country deepens, officials said.
The ban was announced hours after Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah shot dead a policeman during a crackdown on Khan’s leaders and supporters, according to a police statement and a news briefing by Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb.
The information minister said an officer from Khan’s party had shot dead the policeman.
Khan, who was ousted in a vote of confidence last month, is leading a nationwide rally, blaming the United States for plotting to overthrow his government.
Overseas reserves fell below .5 10.5 billion, the equivalent of less than two months of imports. Shahbaz Sharif, who replaced Khan last month, has yet to take bold steps to get the economy back on track.
Khan called on his supporters to march in Islamabad on Wednesday, warning the government he would not leave the capital until parliament was dissolved to hold new elections. He has promised to rally thousands of people.
“No one will be allowed to blockade the capital and direct its demands,” the home minister said, adding that the cabinet had approved the ban.
He said that Khan and his associates called it a bloody procession, which could not be allowed after a position in which Khan had crippled the country for more than four months in 2014. At the time, Khan had gathered thousands of people to protest alleged fraud in an election in 2013.
Khan challenged the government to stop his march.
“If you can, try to stop us,” he told reporters, adding that peaceful protest was his right which could not be denied.
Negotiations are underway in Doha between the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to resume the agreed $ 6 billion rescue package in 2019, and is set to end on Wednesday.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)