Clashes in Pakistan as defiant Imran Khan begins march to capital

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Police fire tear gas and baton-charge Khan’s supporters to block them from reaching Islamabad for a protest rally already banned by the government.

Clashes have been reported in Pakistan after authorities blocked roads leading to the capital, where a defiant former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party is planning to hold a major rally to demand the removal of the government and immediate general elections.

Police fired tear gas in several districts of Punjab, the country’s largest province, as supporters of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party tried to remove roadblocks on highways leading to Islamabad.

In the northeastern city of Lahore, police fired tear gas shells to disperse hundreds of PTI members who gathered at different points for the protest march.

Angry protesters pelted stones and threw tear gas shells back at the police before scores of them were taken into custody.

The government on Tuesday banned Khan’s planned rally in Islamabad after a policeman was allegedly killed by a PTI worker during police raids on the homes of the party’s members.

The PTI claimed that more than 1,000 members were arrested in overnight raids across northeastern Punjab province in an attempt to foil the march.

Authorities had placed dozens of shipping containers on major roads leading to the capital, about 270km (170 miles) northwest of Lahore.

 

 

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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