Failing to control the growing unrest caused by Imran Khan’s protest march, the Shahbaz Sharif government has been forced to call in troops to protect the Red Zone as the former Pakistani prime minister and PTI chief arrived in Islamabad on Thursday morning.
“In accordance with the law and order situation in the Islamabad Capital Territory, the federal government has authorized the deployment of sufficient forces of the Pakistan Army in the exercise of powers conferred under Article 245 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said in a government post on Twitter.
Amid growing tensions in the country, the Pakistani government deployed troops in the Red Zone “to protect important government buildings” after Imran Khan entered the federal capital.
The government order said the decision was taken to protect important government buildings, including the Supreme Court, Parliament House, the Presidency and the Prime Minister’s Office.
Clashes between police and PTI workers escalated tensions in the country after authorities tried to block them on the federal capital’s D-Chowk.
Imran Khan warned on Wednesday that his supporters would not vacate the D-Chowk until the Shahbaz Sharif government announces a new election date.
The former prime minister of Pakistan, who was ousted in a no-confidence vote, called on “all Pakistanis” to take to the streets in their respective cities and urged women and children to leave their homes for “real freedom”. News Dawn Magazine.
Rights groups have expressed deep concern over the lawlessness of law enforcement agencies in disrupting the PTI’s march in Islamabad.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) tweeted, “We believe that all citizens and all political parties have the right to peacefully assemble and protest.”
“The state’s overwhelming response has begun to do more than prevent street violence. The onus is on government and opposition leaders to take a mature, democratic response and start a dialogue to end the stalemate immediately.”
Pakistani media reports say that Pakistan seems to be heading towards political conflict following the decision of the Shahbaz Sharif government to ban PTI processions. According to Dawn, the crackdown on opposition leaders and the sealing of the capital has created a very volatile situation.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday restrained the current government from arresting Imran Khan and allowed the PTI to stage a sit-in protest at the H-9 ground in Islamabad.
The court order came after PTI assured a peaceful protest and said there would be no damage to public and private property.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)