Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Pakistan protests grow as military stays silent
By Gohar ABBAS, David STOUT
Islamabad (AFP) Nov 26, 2017

Thousands more protesters massed in Pakistan's major cities Sunday after attempts to disperse an Islamist rally in Islamabad ended in deadly violence, with the military hesitant to respond to a government appeal for help.

An estimated 5,000 demonstrators were occupying roads between Islamabad and neighbouring Rawalpindi, AFP reporters saw, more than twice the number that were in the streets when police and paramilitaries began a bungled operation to clear them one day earlier.

At least 4,750 were in Pakistan's biggest city Karachi, according to traffic officials, up from roughly 200 the day before. In the cultural capital Lahore an estimated 3,400 were occupying main roads.

Reports said the protests had also spread to other cities and towns across the country.

The numbers are still relatively small by Pakistani standards but have grown swiftly. The situation has become more charged since authorities moved to clear the roughly 2,000 people who have blocked a major highway in Islamabad since November 6, paralysing the capital for weeks.

They were met with stubborn resistance by protesters who torched vehicles and threw stones, with at least seven people were killed and dozens injured before security forces retreated on Saturday.

An interior ministry order said the federal government had authorised the deployment of troops to secure the capital until further notice.

But one day after the order was released there was no official military response and no sign of armoured vehicles or soldiers on the streets. A military spokesman declined repeated requests for comment.

Late Sunday an interior ministry official told AFP the paramilitary Rangers force had been empowered to "deal with the protests", but offered no further details.

Civil-military relations have long been fraught in Pakistan, with the military ruling the country for nearly half of its 70-year history.

The little-known Islamist group at the centre of the protests, Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah Pakistan (TLY), is demanding the resignation of Pakistan's law minister Zahid Hamid over a hastily-abandoned amendment to the oath, which election candidates must swear.

Demonstrators have linked the issue to blasphemy -- a highly contentious matter in Muslim Pakistan that has fuelled violence many times before.

TLY leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi repeated the demand in a press conference Sunday and insisted terrorism charges be levelled against top officials including former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and current leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

He called for a general strike across the country Monday, and declared that TLY will "fully participate" in general elections due to be held next year.

Rizvi said his group was "negotiating" but refused to offer further details, including of who with, and vowed the sit-in would continue "at any cost".

"We are not scared of these bullets. We have to die one day so why not die for the honour of the holy Prophet," he said.

- Broken teeth -

Earlier, at a main stage set up at the centre of the sit-in, demonstrators were playing religious songs as more groups arrived. A military helicopter flew briefly overhead but otherwise few members of the security forces were in sight.

"I don't care if my wife and child ... die of hunger, for me nothing matters more than the honour of my Prophet," Riaz Shah, a labourer from Lahore who has been at the sit-in since it began, told AFP.

He dismissed fears of military intervention, saying the army "would not come here and dishonour the Prophet".

Pakistan's media authority lifted a ban on television broadcasts and authorities said social media sites were no longer being restricted, after an information blackout earlier in the day sparked confusion about the state of the protests.

But many schools announced closures and commuters braced for another week of traffic chaos.

"People's businesses have been destroyed, people are unable to go on their jobs, to hospitals, they are not sending their children to schools," said resident Maqbool Ahmed, calling for the army to "disperse them up by beating them with clubs".

The violence is the latest blow to the embattled Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) government ahead of the 2018 election, and after its leader Nawaz Sharif was deposed as prime minister over graft allegations this summer.

Analysts said the government had allowed a relatively small protest by an obscure group to grow into a potentially dangerous situation.

The government's predicament was "daunting", analyst Michael Kugelman of the Wilson Center in Washington told AFP, adding that its ability to survive "depends on the trajectory of the protests".

Malaysia arrests Uighur escapee from Thailand
Kuala Lumpur (AFP) Nov 23, 2017
Malaysian authorities have arrested a Uighur Muslim man from China who was part of a group who made a dramatic escape from an immigration detention centre in Thailand, police said Thursday. Asri Yusoff, police chief in the northern Malaysian state of Kedah, said the fugitive was picked up near the border with Thailand's Sadoa district, where the Thai immigration center is located. "The d ... read more

Related Links
News From Across The Stans

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

US Scrambles to Assemble Space-Based Missile Defense System

Boeing meets 2017 ballistic missile defense installation goal early

Sweden picks US Patriot missile system over European rival

Missile from Yemen intercepted near Riyadh airport

State Dept. approves potential Javelin missile sale to Georgia

State Dept. approves potential missile sale to Poland

Raytheon awarded contract for Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile program

Lockheed Martin to test AGM-158 JASSM

Pentagon steps up Somalia drone strikes

Lockheed Martin Integrates New Engine for Fury Unmanned Air Vehicle

Alpha Unmanned Systems teams with Sightec for image stabilization and object tracking.

Leonardo delivers Falco EVO drones to Middle East

US Navy accepts 5th MUOS Satellite for global military cellular network

SES GS Awarded US Government Satellite Solutions Contract

16th SPCS Defenders of critical satellite communications

First order for Elta ELK-1882T SATCOM network system

Marines roll out new anti-tank weapon system

Saab to supply South African forces with field kitchens

Raytheon, Saab to develop improved shoulder-launched weapon systems

MBDA Inc. to produce parts for Small Diameter Bomb

Congress sends $700 bn defense bill for Trump's signature

Lockheed, Navantia renew collaborative agreement

Philippines' Duterte receives Russian assault rifles

Whistleblower protection bill sent to President as complaints of retaliation grow

Australia calls for US engagement in region amid China rise

From Myanmar to Zimbabwe, China's global footprint grows

China forges 'strategic' ties with Djibouti after opening base

Forbidden City and Vatican try 'art diplomacy'

Manganese dioxide shows potential in micromotors

Promising sensors for submarines, mines and spacecraft

Better, bolder printing with silicon nanostructures

Practical superconducting nanowire single photon detector highly efficient

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement