Pakistani Military Takes Red Zone as Protests Near Parliament

Interior Ministry Vows to Stop Protests

Pakistani military forces have taken up positions across the Red Zone in the capital of Islamabad today, but so far have not attacked the protesters, even as they neared the parliament building.

The military was ordered to “guard” the area, and the Interior Ministry issued a statement saying they would be sent to stop the protesters, though so far they have not been ordered to do so.

Given how ridiculously common coups d’etat are in Pakistani history, any move to put troops in the capital is an enormous risk for the ruling party, and it reflects their growing desperation to stop the protests calling for new elections.

The push for a new vote started with protests over election fraud, but since then PM Nawaz Sharif has been charged with murder over previous crackdowns, and the country’s third largest political party has resigned from parliament in a bid to topple the government and force an early vote to resolve the situation.

The military is counseling “restraint” on both sides for now, though with troops in the capital surrounding all the key buildings, it seems that everyone is on edge.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.