Asia

Pakistan releases nearly 2,000 opposition party supporters

  • Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan flashes a victory sign outside his residence in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016. Khan has called off a mass protest aimed at shutting down the capital and forcing the resignation of the prime minister. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

    Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan flashes a victory sign outside his residence in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016. Khan has called off a mass protest aimed at shutting down the capital and forcing the resignation of the prime minister. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)  (The Associated Press)

  • Police officers stand guard near the house of opposition politician Imran Khan, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016. Khan has called off a mass protest aimed at shutting down the capital and forcing the resignation of the prime minister. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

    Police officers stand guard near the house of opposition politician Imran Khan, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016. Khan has called off a mass protest aimed at shutting down the capital and forcing the resignation of the prime minister. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)  (The Associated Press)

  • Supporters of opposition politician Imran Khan celebrate outside his residence in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016. Khan has called off a mass protest aimed at shutting down the capital and forcing the resignation of the prime minister. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

    Supporters of opposition politician Imran Khan celebrate outside his residence in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016. Khan has called off a mass protest aimed at shutting down the capital and forcing the resignation of the prime minister. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)  (The Associated Press)

A Pakistani government spokesman says police have released nearly 2,000 opposition party supporters of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan who were detained ahead of planned anti-government protests.

Rana Arshad says most of Khan's supporters were set free from Punjab province jails on orders from Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Khan's party had threatened to lock down the capital on Wednesday to force Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign over a money scandal.

The lockdown has been called off and Khan changed the gathering to a public celebration over a top court's ruling that asks the premier to submit a written response to allegations that members of his family were holding offshore bank accounts.

The arrests followed several days of clashes in which police used tear gas and batons against stone-throwing Khan's party protesters.