Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan addresses an anti-government protest in Lahore yesterday. Workers from Imran Khan’s party shut down major roads in Lahore in the latest round of protests against the government.
Supporters of the party of Pakistan’s Imran Khan shut down major roads in the eastern city of Lahore yesterday in the latest round of protests against the government.
Thousands of followers of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) gathered at different junctions on major roads in the city and burned tyres, forcing the suspension of public transport.
Khan, a star cricketer turned politician, claims the 2013 general election which brought Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to power was rigged. He wants Sharif, whose power base lies in Lahore, to resign.
Local and foreign observers, however, have rated the polls as credible.
The Punjab provincial government, which is run by Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N party, accused Khan’s supporters of reneging on an agreement to let ambulances through their barricades.
Salman Rafique, health adviser to the Punjab chief minister, told AFP that three people, including two infants, had died in ambulances stuck in traffic caused by the protests.
A doctor in Lahore children’s hospital said they received a body of a newborn baby but the cause of death was not clear.
PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi denied the allegations, insisting that party workers had not stopped ambulances taking patients to hospitals.
Thousands of police were on the streets to try to prevent violence, following clashes at a similar protest in the city of Faisalabad last week.
“A contingent of 15,000 police personnel have been deployed in the city to avoid any untoward incident,” senior police official Haider Ashraf said.
Khan has vowed to paralyse major cities around the country as part of his efforts to topple Sharif’s government.
A lengthy sit-in protest outside the parliament building in Islamabad in late August and early September led to brief violent clashes and destabilised Sharif’s government.
Khan has said he and his supporters will paralyse the country on December 18 if their demands are not met.
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