Amnesty condemns Pakistan over crackdown
AMNESTY International has called on Pakistan to release hundreds of opposition activists detained before a planned mass protest, as police used tear gas and rubber bullets overnight to prevent demonstrators from entering Islamabad.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is under growing pressure from opposition parties, mainly Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).
They plan to lock down the capital tomorrow as they call for him to resign over his children’s offshore bank accounts, revealed in the Panama Papers leak.
Police have detained around 1000 PTI supporters from across the country after imposing a ban on all public gatherings in Islamabad, which was later partly lifted by a court order.
The highway from the northwestern city of Peshawar to Islamabad has become the latest flashpoint, with authorities using shipping containers and anti-riot measures to forcefully prevent an influx of thousands of stick-wielding opposition activists.
Police stopped the protesters from
reaching the capital on October 31 night, forcing them to sleep in the open around 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the city.
Analysts believe the role of the allpowerful army will be key in determining the outcome of the ongoing confrontation.
Mr Sharif may need to strike a deal with them that would leave him weakened in order to ensure his survival.
Leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party Shah Mehmood Qureshi (left) and Asad Umar (right) leave the Supreme Court building during a break in the case.