ISLAMABAD: A Pakistan opposition party planning a major anti-government protest was raided by police Thursday as authorities banned all public gatherings in Islamabad for two months.
Police raided a youth convention for opposition leader Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf (PTI) party, charging activists with batons and arresting dozens of people.
Khan is due to lead the protest on November 2 to demand Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to either step down over recent family financial revelations or present himself for accountability.
PTI leaders were infuriated by the police raid, further fraying relations ahead of the planned protest.
“The government has proved that there is no democracy in Pakistan, it is a monarchy,” PTI lawmaker Asad Umar told reporters from the scene.
Nazish Altaf, a PTI youth leader, added: “We will not be deterred by arrests and more people will join us on November 2.”
There will be a heavy police presence in Islamabad to deter protesters with confrontation now appearing inevitable.
Sharif is under growing pressure from opposition parties over his children’s alleged offshore bank accounts that were revealed in the Panama Papers leak.
“This will be a decisive and historic gathering, people will come together with resolve to hold the prime minister accountable,” Khan told reporters ahead of the raid.-AFP