Protesters force Pakistan state TV station off air

SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Anti-government protesters on Monday, briefly took over the Pakistan state broadcaster and forced it off air. The police force, under orders from the beleaguered government, did little to prevent thousands of supporters of former cricketer Imran Khan and the cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri from entering a compound containing many government ministries in Islamabad and the offices of the Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV).

The army declared on Sunday night that the government should not use force against protesters following clashes on Saturday in which three people died and hundreds were injured. On Monday more than 200 supporters of Qadri seized the PTV building, reportedly seizing weapons from security guards. Army troops refused to use force and eventually protesters were persuaded to leave PTV which then began broadcasting again.

Although the military has directly ruled Pakistan for half of its history, and wielded enormous power behind the scenes even when civilians have nominally been in control, many analysts doubt the army wants to oust the current government. It is widely suspected however that the army will attempt to use the crisis to clip the wings of Sharif who has defied the top brass by ordering a high treason trial for former military ruler Pervez Musharraf and by pushing for better diplomatic and trade relations with India.


On Monday Khan said he would not call off the protests. “I call upon my workers to remain peaceful,” Khan said from atop a shipping container at the main rally site. “Do not carry out any acts of violence. God has given us victory.”

Source: The Guardian

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