Making a journey of almost 40 hours, separate mass rallies of opposition parties PTI -Pakistan Tahreek e Insaaf of Imran Khan’s “Azadi March” and PAT – Pakistan Awami Tehreek of Tahirul Qadri’s “Inquilab March”, have reached Pakistani capital Islamabad late Friday night. The chief demand of both parties is immediate resignation of PM Nawaz Sharif.
PTI’s Imran Khan has declared that his rally would stage a dharna at Serena Chowk at Kashmir Highway. PAT protesters are rallying at Zero Point, Islamabad. Imran has reiterated the primary demand of Sharif’s resignation, reminding that the huge mandate he got last year was rigged. Both the opposition parties will spell out longer lists of demands at their gatherings. Ruling party, PML-N has proposed a team to discuss these issues with the cooperation of other parties like Jamaat e Islami and MQM.
THough both rallies are claiming that there would be millions gathering at the rallies, the ruling party has rubbished the claims and put the numbers at few thousands. An attack on Imran’s rally from which Imran escaped unhurt yesterday near Gujranwala, has escalated the temperature and resulted in a new fervor in the ranks of PTI. Imran’s presence is generally believed to be limited to urban areas, this would be his first big show to claim that he can be a bigger draw. The cricketer-turned-politician is sparing no efforts in the show and is braving a sleepless, 40 hour drive suffering from high fever.
The result of this Middle East inspired protests might drag down Pakistan’s first democratically elected government and could pave way for military dictatorship again, detractors are warning.