Pakistan calls in army as Islamabad protests turn violent

The Islamabad High Court's scolding came one day after the Supreme Court also rejected the government's claim that using force on the protesters could result in injuries and deaths which would foment further unrest in the country.

"Why they did it (contacted India), we are looking into it". Gen. Asif Ghafoor, head of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army's media wing, said that Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa telephoned Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and suggested that the sit-in be resolved peacefully.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulating Authority (PEMRA) has issued coverage notice for electronic media and all satellite TV channels. "They have fired teargas shells (at security forces), they also cut the fibre-optic cables of cameras monitoring their protest.They have inside information and resources that are being used against the state", he told DawnNews.

Protesters on Saturday tried to break into the home of Law and Justice Minister Zahid Hamid, police in the Punjabi city of Sialkot said. The move has expectedly invited sharp criticism from the media fraternity in the neighbouring country where religious outfits have a history of holding the country to ransom.

Due to operation in Islamabad people in Lahore are coming out on the roads.

More than 8,000 personnel of police and paramilitary Rangers and Frontier Constablary launched the crackdown to clear Faizabad interchange linking Islamabad with garrison city of Rawalpindi and the only worldwide airport of the capital. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have been suspended.

8500 police and paramilitary rangers and frontier corps were deployed to clear the demonstrators.

Video from the scene Saturday showed law enforcement forces carrying sticks and firing tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters.

The Times reported at least 150 protesters were arrested.

"At least 60 police officers, 45 FC men, and 50 civilians are among those injured", the newspaper says explaining how the figure of casualties is expected to rise as violence spreads to other parts.

Dawn said the sit-in was being conducted by religious parties since November 8.

The protestors demand that Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid step down for his alleged role in a recent amendment which now stands withdrawn.