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Pakistan launches crackdown on religious hardline protesters

Clashes on Saturday broke out between security personnel and protesters belonging to a hardline religious groups in the Pakistani capital following a government crackdown, leaving one person dead and over 150 others injured and triggering violence in other cities. The government blacked out all TV channels and blocked popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to stem the spiralling violence. The police and paramilitary personnel tried to disperse the protesters who have been blocking main highways leading to the capital Islamabad for more than two weeks to press for the resignation of law minister Zahid Hamid.

The protesters are objecting to changes made in the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat or finality of prophethood oath in the Elections Act 2017 passed in September, alleging the action undermined Islamic beliefs and linked it to blasphemy. The operation was launched after Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday issued contempt of court notice against Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal for failing to implement orders to clear the roads.

The protesters belonging to Tehreek-i-Khatm-i-Nabuwwat, Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) and Sunni Tehreek Pakistan (ST) attacked the house of former interior minister Nisar Ali Khan in Faizabad area of Rawalpindi. They damaged the gate of his house and tried to enter the premises, but were prevented by police, official said. Khan is a former

minister and his house is located very close to Fiazabad interchanged which has been occupied by the protesters for almost three weeks. It was not known whether he was present inside the house at the time of attack.

According to a security official, over 8,000 security personnel took part in the operation against around 2,000 protesters.

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