The Pakistan Army was deployed in Islamabad early on Thursday morning, 25 May, as Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's 'Azadi March' reached the capital city demanding a date for fresh polls.
"Pursuant to the law and order situation in the Islamabad Capital Territory, the Federal Government, in the exercise of powers conferred under Article 245 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, authorises deployment of sufficient strength of troops of Pakistan Army in Red Zone in ICT," Pakistan's Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said in a government order.
The forces have been deployed to protect government buildings including the Supreme Court, Parliament, Prime Minister's Office, as per the order.
As per a statement by the Islamabad police, the protesters were handled with "patience" and were instructed to leave the Red Zone by the police, Rangers and other law enforcers.
Police said that eight personnel of the Islamabad police and seven Rangers were injured as protesters resorted to stone pelting but were dispersed from the area after negotiations with the police, reported Dawn.
Will Return With Entire Nation If Fresh Polls Not Called: Imran Khan
Meanwhile, Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, who was ousted from the prime ministerial post in April, addressed the protesters at Islamabad's 9th Avenue on Thursday morning and gave a six-day deadline to the government for announcing elections and dissolving assemblies, and warned that he would return to the capital with the "entire nation" otherwise.
"No amount of state oppression and fascism by this imported govt can stop or deter our march," Khan had earlier tweeted.
Shelling, Chaos During 'Azadi March' on Wednesday
Tensions had soared across the country, with the police resorting to the use of tear gas in the Punjab province. Several members of PTI were also arrested as they attempted to remove obstacles, such as shipping containers, installed to halt their steps, Dawn reported.
There were reports of intense shelling in Islamabad's Blue Area, with television footage showing smoke rising from the ground, The government claimed that the PTI supporters had set the fires whereas the claim from the PTI camp was that the fires were a result of police shelling, as per a Dawn report.
This came after the Pakistan Supreme Court on Wednesday had restrained the present government from arresting Imran Khan and allowed PTI to hold a sit-in protest at the H-9 ground area of Islamabad. The PTI's march towards the D-Chowk and arrests and use force by the police took place despite the Supreme Court directives.
Meanwhile, internet disruptions were also reported across Pakistan in the evening.