Islamabad crackdown: Protesters ransack Law Minister Zahid Hamid's house in Pasrur


Roughly 8,500 elite police and paramilitary troops in riot gear began clearing the 2,000 or so demonstrators that have occupied the Faizabad interchange for over two weeks, soon after dawn. The demonstrators are demanding the resignation of a law minister over an omitted reference to the Prophet Muhammad in a parliamentary bill.

But protest leaders were adamant and refused to clear the intersection unless the law minister resigned. Hamid and his family weren't home at the time.

As the dialogue failed to produce any results, we also saw Islamabad High Court issuing contempt of court notice to Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal for failing to end the sit-in, which we, understand should have been issued to the organisers of the protestors who were not ready to show any flexibility in their stance having no basis as their demands were also already met by not only restoring Khatam-i-Nabuwwat laws but making them more effective.

Senior police officer Ismatullah Junejo said police were swiftly clearing the venue as some 300 protesters ignored the final warning to disperse.

Three smaller protests broke out in Rawalpindi on roads leading to the capital, a journalist there said.

The crackdown came after the country's top court ordered their removal, after protests paralyzed life in the twin cities and the last of a long series of deadlines lapsed without response from the agitating parties.

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Apart from the capital, protests are reportedly taking place in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi and northern district of Sialkot.

Earlier, PEMRA had barred media from live coverage of Islamabad operation under Media Code of Conduct 2015.

Last month, legislation meant to pave the way for former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to return as ruling party head modified the clause, in what the government called a "clerical mistake".

Protesters want Hamid to resign over the matter.

Hundreds of supporters of Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Ullah being led by firebrand cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi have been blocking Faizabad Inter-Change for almost three weeks. Qadri allegedly killed Taseer because the governor spoke out against the country's blasphemy law, which makes insulting Islam a crime punishable by death. Major news channels have been taken off air in this regard. They praised Qadri as a martyr who died for the cause of the Prophet Mohammed.