Khan, Qadri supporters reach Islamabad's 'Red Zone'

Supporters follow them into forbidden 'Red Zone'

Khan, Qadri supporters reach Islamabad's 'Red Zone'

Pakistan opposition leader Imran Khan and cleric Tahirul Qadri on Tuesday night marched with thousands of their supporters towards the Parliament, entering the heavily fortified “Red Zone”, the capital’s diplomatic and political enclave, even as minor clashes took place between anti-government protesters and security personnel.

“Promise me, if something were to happen to me, you will take revenge from Nawaz Sharif,” said Khan while addressing his supporters before starting his march towards the Red Zone, which houses important government buildings including the Parliament House, Prime Minister House, President House, the Supreme Court besides embassies of various countries.

Unfazed by army deployment, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief and Qadri marched towards the Parliament demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation, putting the PML-N-led government on the backfoot.

Khan said he has given Prime Minister Sharif till Wednesday evening to resign.

“If Nawaz Sharif does not resign then we will enter the prime minister’s house,” said the PTI chief.

Police baton-charged Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) protesters as they neared the Parliament.

Anti-government protesters entered the Red Zone, even as clashes took place between them and the police at Serena Chowk where they removed shipping containers. After initial minor skirmishes, police did not put up stern resistance and slowly retreated as part of policy to avoid violence.

The protesters poured into the high-security “Red Zone” and reached the Constitution Avenue as the government decided to withdraw security forces.

“PM just told me he has ordered the police not to use any kind of force against the protesters as women & children are in the front rows,” Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif tweeted.

The protesters started separately but later were moving towards the Parliament together. Thousands of anti-government protesters planned to stage a sit-in in an open ground in front of the building.

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