Police arrest hundreds of PTI workers

Islamabad – Police arrested hundreds of supporters of Chairman Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan who entered Islamabad for shutdown of the capital.

Police have cordoned off Imran Khan’s residence and fired tear gas during clashes there with his supporters.

“About 450 people entered Islamabad today,” Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan confirmed in a press conference on Sunday, “Police intercepted them but most of them ran away, many leaving their cars behind. Police arrested more than 100 of them.”

He said Khan’s PTI planned to occupy the Pakistan Secretariat, an office complex housing government ministries.

“They want to occupy the Pakistan Secretariat and the plan is not to allow government employees to enter,” he said.

The minister said that on Saturday night some 1,200 PTI activists tried to drive in convoy to Islamabad from the northwestern city of Peshawar. When police stopped them on the motorway they beat up officers but had to retreat when reinforcements arrived.

“The lockdown of the capital is not a crime against government, but a crime against the state. We are a nuclear power and what impression will it make before the world if a mob comes to the capital of the country to shut it down?” the minister said.

Imran Khan denied his activists had possessed weapons.

In summer 2014 Khan led a mass protest that lasted four months. He allied himself with populist cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri to stage a sit-in outside parliament calling for the government to resign over vote-rigging allegations.

Khan called off the protest in December 2014 after Taliban militants stormed an army-run school in Peshawar and killed 154 people, most of them children.

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