Police and witnesses say that clashes have erupted in several places in Pakistan between police and supporters of an antigovernment cleric, leaving at least four people dead and dozens injured.
The violence, which broke out on August 8, is stepping up tensions ahead of a large protest rally by the activist cleric, Tahir ul-Qadri, in the eastern city of Lahore on August 10. Qadri said seven of his supporters had been killed in clashes, but the claim could not be independently verified.
Security was tight in Lahore on August 9 with police manning checkpoints throughout the city, which is the capital of Punjab.
Qadri has called the rally to protest against deadly clashes in June between his supporters and police. He also alleges that authorities have arrested more than 500 followers in a campaign of intimidation.