Eight Killed, Dozens Wounded as Pakistan Police Attack Protesters

Protesters Sought to Protect Canada-Based Anti-Taliban Preacher's Home

Police attacked unarmed protesters loyal to Muhammad Tahir-ul Qadri today in the city of Lahore, after they objected to police removing barricades set up to protect the Canada-based anti-Taliban preacher’s home.

Qadri plans to return to Pakistan next week, and police aimed to disperse his followers by force, firing into the crowd and beating protesters, starting a riot. Eight died, including one policeman, and over 70 others were reported wounded.

Qadri, a Sufi scholar, is harshly critical of the Taliban but has also made political enemies with his anti-corruption speeches, organizing demonstrations against MPs accused of corruption.

He has also backed the idea of a military coup to provide “stability,” and is believed to have connections to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency, meaning the clashes with his followers risk putting the police, under the command of the Interior Ministry, in conflict with his military backers.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.