Several thousand protesters had marched in Islamabad on Sunday, clashing with security forces before setting up camp outside key government buildings along the capital’s main Constitution Avenue.
Earlier during the day, protesters said they would not end their days-long sit-in and were “willing to die”, as armed security forces readied to clear the camp.
The government gave the demonstrators an ultimatum to leave late Tuesday, but it went unheeded, prompting the government to issue a second call saying security forces would begin an operation to clear the area Wednesday morning.
“If the protesters do not disperse peacefully tonight, then we will evict them in the morning in front of everyone,” Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told reporters late Tuesday.
A police source said more than 7,000 security forces were poised to clear the sit-in, including the paramilitary Rangers and Frontier Corps with reinforcements from the Punjab Police. Army troops had been standing guard at government buildings near the protest camp.