The Pakistani government on Thursday granted an approval to deploying military units in Islamabad's so-called red zone, where key government buildings are located, in anticipation of a protest march instigated by ousted Prime Minster Imran Khan, according an interior ministry order
MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 26th May, 2022) The Pakistani government on Thursday granted an approval to deploying military units in Islamabad's so-called red zone, where key government buildings are located, in anticipation of a protest march instigated by ousted Prime Minster Imran Khan, according an interior ministry order.
Last Sunday, Khan urged the supporters of his party Tehreek-e-Insaf to join a peaceful march from the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to Islamabad on May 25. The demonstration was meant to transform into a sit-in, which would continue until the dissolution of the lower house of parliament and announcement of early elections.
"Pursuant to the law and order situation in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), the Federal Government, in exercise of powers conferred under Article 245 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is pleased to authorize deployment of sufficient strengths of troops of Pakistan Army in Red Zone in ICT," the document, published by Pakistani Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, read.
Troops will be stationed in the area without delay and remain there until further notice to ensure protection of government buildings, including the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Parliament House, Presidency and Prime Minister's Office. The exact number of troops will be decided by the Pakistani armed forces in collaboration with the city administration, the order said.
Earlier in the day, Pakistani police reportedly used tear gas to disperse protesters in the northeastern city of Lahore, where the party supporters gathered to march on Islamabad upon Khan's appeal. The police clashed with protesters in the cities of Punjab and Karachi as well as Islamabad's business center, known as the "Blue Area."
Speaking to his supporters, Khan issued an ultimatum addressed to the government that it either stage early elections or face more mass protests.
In mid-April, Khan was ousted in a no-confidence vote at parliament which Tehreek-e-Insaf lawmakers boycotted. The lower house then voted for Shehbaz Sharif, leader of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), as the country's next prime minister. Khan demanded that the new head of government be elected through parliamentary elections.
According to Khan, the opposition-led vote of no confidence against him was financed by foreign countries, primarily the United States, which were "annoyed" by his foreign policies. The US State Department rejected Khan's accusation.