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

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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.

Seemingly emboldened by the failure of the government to clear the protests, which have almost paralysed the capital, Khadim Hussain Rizvi - the firebrand cleric who leads the Tehreek-e Labbaik Pakistan party - has called for protesters to bring the whole country to a halt.

News media also reported protesters breaking into the house of former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. Hospital officials said near 200 people were injured, a lot of them police.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority told TV channels not to broadcast footage of the operation and took all channels off air.

Earlier, the Islamabad police, with the help of Frontier Constabulary personnel and other law enforcement agencies, launched an operation against protesters after the last of a long series of deadlines lapsed on Saturday morning without response from the agitators.

At least two people were killed and over 200 were injured across Islamabad and Rawalpindi, with the number expected to rise.

As the violence spread, Interior Minister of Pakistan Ahsan Iqbal, in a freakish statement, blamed India.

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The written orders citing a report submitted by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) said the protesters had political motives.

Dawn said nearly 8,000 security personnel started operation at 7 am after last deadline ended on Saturday.

As the clashes intensified, Pakistan's powerful military chief phoned the prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to urge the situation be handled "peacefully", military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said on Twitter.

"We can see that they have various resources at their disposal".

The protesters want the resignation of law minister Zahid Hamid for altering the declaration of lawmakers with regard to Finality of the Prophethood - a change which the government has already reversed.

TRT World spoke to Pakistani journalist Kamran Yousaf who says the protests are spreading to other parts of the country.

Ahsan Iqbal said that protesters had been holding Twin Cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi hostage for last 20 days, adding that few elements were misleading innocent minds.

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