A convoy carrying Pakistan’s opposition leader Imran Khan was attacked while heading toward the capital city of Islamabad on Friday, according to a BBC report. The report stated that people had pelted the convoy with stones, but claims from Khan's party that shots had been fired had yet to be independently confirmed.
Although no one was reportedly injured, clashes have erupted following the alleged shooting, which Khan’s Tehreek-e-insaf party, or PTI, alleged was carried out by supporters of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz, or PML-N.
The march towards Islamabad by members of the opposition parties, which kicked off Thursday on Pakistan’s 68th Independence Day, is being led by two opposition parties -- the PTI and the Pakistani Awami Tehreek, or PAT. Thousands of protesters have joined what is now one of the largest anti-government protests since Nawaz Sharif came to power in the country’s first democratic transition in 2013.
The protesters have alleged that the 2013 elections were rigged and have challenged the legitimacy of the Nawaz Sharif-led government.
“The Constitution says that a government that has come to power through rigging was not constitutional,” Khan told Pakistan’s Dawn News.
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“There will be a need to speak the truth in Naya Pakistan [new Pakistan] where justice will be served to all... I am going to Islamabad and I will ensure that all of us are free,” the PTI chief reportedly said on Friday, addressing the crowd in the city of Gujranwala, which is about 125 miles from the city of Islamabad.
The government, on the other hand, reportedly termed the demands unconstitutional and denounced the protests an attempt to “derail democracy.”
“Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri want to derail democracy by toppling the federal government elected by the people. But I want to make it very clear that the people will not let anyone do so as they support the elected government,” Ameer Muqam, PML-N senior vice president and adviser to the prime minister, told Dawn News.
Shahbaz Sharif, the Chief Minister of the Punjab province and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s brother, also said that there was no question of the Prime Minister resigning and added that the government will defeat the “conspiracy to destabilize the country,” Dawn News reported Friday.