Police officers used batons and water cannons to disperse hundreds of supporters from the main opposition party who were protesting yesterday against the arrest of their leader, leaving dozens wounded.
The protest erupted in Lahore, when the country’s corruption watchdog took Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif to a court for a pre-trial hearing on graft charges.
Sharif has been in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), a federal anti-corruption body, for almost three months.
The younger brother of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is suspected of corruption during his time as chief minister of the central province of Punjab between 2013 and 2018.
The protesters clashed with riot police when they were stopped from marching into the court premises, local administration official Mohamed Usman said.
Unusually for a political demonstration in Pakistan, among their ranks were hundreds of women.
At least three dozen activists were wounded as police fired tear gas into the crowd, and used batons and water cannons to disrupt the protesters, said Mohamed Mehdi, a spokesman for Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) party.
Nawaz Sharif has condemned the use of force against the “peaceful” protesters, saying that it shows the government’s frustration.
Prime Minister Imran Khan took over in August after defeating the PML-N.
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