Protesters belonging to Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) have broken the fence of Parliament House by ramming a truck into it as well as setting police vehicles on fire as the situation is deteriorating in the most sensitive part of the federal capital after several people, including police personnel, were injured when law enforcement personnel resorted to tear gas shelling and firing rubber bullets after thousands of protesters led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri attacked the main gate of the President’s House on their way to Prime Minister’s House to stage a sit-in.
TV footage shows the youths of the two parties retreating after tear gas shells were fired, with several of them getting injured during the mayhem. The protesters also pelted stones at the police personnel and have set fire to several trees and bushes.
Imran Khan said the government has left the PTI no option but to resort to violence, giving a call for a countrywide strike on Sunday.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar told reporters at the scene that a “a group wants to seize government buildings and we are under oath to protect state buildings”.
Khan and Qadri called for the demonstration to move to the house from a massive rally Saturday in front of the parliament, where they have been staging a sit-in for days.
In speeches, Khan and Qadri said they will remain peaceful and urged security forces to abstain from using force against the protesters.
Dr Qadri called upon PTI protesters and chairman Imran Khan to move along with them.
PTI Chairman Khan later announced to join the PAT marchers and urged his supporters to move towards the PM House peacefully. He told women participating in the protest that they should not panic and stay calm.
Reacting to the development, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif warned marchers against taking the law into their own hands. He said that contingents of Pakistan Army deployed at Constitution Avenue were under Ministry of Interior.
Asif vowed that army would protect all government institutions.
Meanwhile, commander of the 111 Brigade at the Constitution Avenue has directed policemen not to fire upon protesters marching towards the PM House.
Sources said that military and police high ups held a meeting to finalise their security plan to stop protesters from marching towards PM House. It was decided by the military that use of force would be avoided and no guns would be used against peaceful protesters.
A government spokesman has categorically stated that there is no question of resignation or proceeding on leave by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, nor any member from the government side has made such suggestion.
Meanwhile, PTI President Javed Hashmi reportedly left the scene after developing differences with the party leadership. He was apparently unhappy about the decision of marching on the PM House, a private news channel reported.