The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jan 15, 2013
 

Pakistan police fire tear gas to disperse supporters of populist Muslim cleric

 
 

ISLAMABAD (REUTERS) - Pakistani security forces fired shots in the air on Tuesday to quell supporters of a populist Muslim cleric calling for the resignation of the beleaguered government, while the interior minister dismissed his demands as unconstitutional.

Sufi cleric Muhammad Tahirul Qadri, believed to be backed by Pakistan's powerful military, has brought tens of thousands of followers to the capital Islamabad to demand the resignation of top political leaders in the civilian government and electoral reforms to stamp out corruption.

"We will not accept Qadri's pressure because his demands are unconstitutional," Interior Minister Rehman Malik told local television channels shortly after security forces fired in the air and used tear gas to try and control protesters backing the cleric.

The rally began on Monday and many of the protesters had stayed on the streets overnight.