7 dead as police, religious party workers clash in Pakistan's Lahore

LAHORE, Pakistan (AFP) - At least seven people were killed on Tuesday when the Pakistani police clashed with followers of a fiery preacher in the eastern city of Lahore, hospital officials said.

The clashes involved supporters of Canadian-Pakistani Tahir-ul-Qadri who held a major anti-corruption march last year prior to the May 2013 election that saw the country's first democratic handover of power.

"We received seven dead bodies including two women. All of them had bullet wounds," said Dr Abdul Rauf, medical superintendent at the city's Jinnah Hospital.

"We also received 80 injured, 40 with bullet injuries and 40 with other wounds. Two injured are critical," he said.

Mr Muhammad Rizwan, another member of the medical staff, confirmed that the dead bodies had been received.

Mr Abdul Jabbar, a senior police officer, told AFP the clashes began when police went to the office of Qadri's Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), meaning "Pakistan People's Movement", in the city's Model Town suburb on Monday night.

"The PAT activists resisted the operations which caused clashes between the protesters and police," he said.

"We went to the area again during the morning with additional force. The PAT activists pelted stones on policemen and our force used tear gas to disperse them. We managed to complete the operation and remove the barriers despite the resistance," he added.

A spokesman for the PAT said up to 12 workers had been killed.

"They launched this operation to counter our peaceful movement and the 'green revolution' promised by Dr Tahir ul Qadri," he said.

"We pelted stones to resist direct firing by police over protesters. We have information that 12 of our workers have been killed," he added.

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