Thousands of anti-government protesters, encouraged by a last-minute court verdict allowing peaceful demonstrations, began their march today from Lahore to Islamabad as the fear of violence gripped Pakistan’s capital which has been turned into a fortress.
On the mark of its Independence Day, the country is facing huge protests against its elected government. The protests are being led by two different leaders, a political stalwart and a religious cleric.
Imran Khan, former criceter and politician, president of Pakistan Tahrik-e-Insaf which has 34 seats out of 342 in the lower house of the Parliament, is leading a group of protestors, while the other group is led by the controversial religious cleric, Tahir ul Qadri, who usually lives in Canada, is leading the other group.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Khan initiated his ‘Azadi March’ from Zaman Park, Lahore, while Qadri launched his ‘Inqelab March’ (revolution march) from the Model Town area of the city. Both of them, though not officially allied, are calling for the ouster of the government that they condemn as corrupt.
“The Inqelab March is leaving Model Town for Islamabad. I want to wish the country a happy Independence Day. The revolution march will give the constitutional and democratic rights to the oppressed of this country,” Qadri said while addressing a press conference.