Islamabad (AFP) – Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan vowed Sunday to protest “until the last breath” as ongoing clashes between his supporters and police outside the prime minister’s residence left three dead and hundreds injured.
The violence began Saturday night after thousands of supporters of Khan and firebrand cleric Tahir ul Qadri tried to storm Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s house using cranes to remove barricades.
By Sunday afternoon clashes were continuing between police in riot gear and a few hundred protesters. Many protesters had come armed with batons and slingshots.
Shipping containers were set ablaze, several vehicles stood torched, and hundreds of tear gas canisters lay strewn on the ground on Islamabad’s normally pristine Constitution Avenue following more than 15 hours of battle.
The opposition groups marched to the capital on August 15 demanding the resignation of Sharif, triggering a crisis that has raised the spectre of military intervention.
They claim the 2013 election which swept Sharif to power was rigged, though local and foreign observers rated the polls as relatively fair credible.
Speaking from on top a container, Khan said: “Now I ask all Pakistanis: rise up against this government. This is not a constitutional government — they are killers.
“We will continue until our last breath. I urge all Pakistanis to come out,” adding he would file murder charges against Sharif for the violence.