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Clashes as Pak cleric returns

June 23: A prominent cleric returned to Pakistan today to lead what he calls a peaceful revolution against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as his supporters fought pitched battles with police firing tear gas in the capital Islamabad.

Tahiru- Qadri, a Pakistani preacher turned political activist who lives in Canada, is a divisive figure in Pakistan, where he made headlines last year by leading mass rallies against the previous government.

As a plane carrying Qadri approached Benazir Bhutto International Airport near Islamabad, violence broke out on the ground as police fired tear gas at 2,000 of his supporters.

The authorities, fearing an escalation of unrest, diverted the flight to Lahore. “We want no corruption, we want no terrorism in our country,” Qadri said aboard the plane. Qadri’s sudden ascent to prominence has prompted speculation that the army may be using him as a proxy in efforts to sideline the civilian government.

 
 
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