Islamabad crackdown: Protesters ransack Law Minister Zahid Hamid's house in Pasrur

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The protest has triggered demonstrators to take to the streets of other cities across the country in solidarity, bringing them to a virtual standstill. Women and children were among the injured, Xinhua news agency reported.

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Meanwhile, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulating Authority (PEMRA) has issued coverage notice for electronic media and all satellite TV channels, the reports said.

Around 150 protesters were arrested since the clashes erupted, the authorities said.

A senior government official speaking on condition of anonymity, due to restrictions on speaking to the media, told Anadolu Agency that the security forces had been asked not to take on the violent protesters pending further orders.

Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa talked to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and asked him for a peaceful solution to the problem. They have fired tear gas shells [at security forces], they also cut the fibre optic cables of cameras that were monitoring their protest, " Dawn reported.

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"We can see that they have various resources at their disposal". The protest which has been on for the last three weeks demanding that the law minister Zahid Hamid steps down, claimed that the modification was part of a larger conspiracy even as the government called it a clerical error.

The government had made several attempts to resolve the stalemate through negotiations with the protesters, who demanded the resignation of a law minister over an omitted reference to the Prophet Muhammad in a parliamentary bill. Ahsan said that some among the protesters wanted to create chaos and destabilization in the country.

The developments come hours after, amid tough resistance and nationwide protests, security forces suspended the crackdown on the Islamabad protesters, who had been blocking the main entrance from the city of Rawalpindi to the capital since early November.

Smaller demonstrations were breaking out in Lahore and other cities, according to local media.

Malik Mohammad Ahmed, the spokesman for Punjab government, said enraged protesters in Rawalpindi attacked the residence of the former interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar, damaging the main gate.

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