Pakistan braces for anti-govt protests, Sharif vows to resist

Pakistan braces for anti-govt  protests, Sharif vows to resist
Bracing for two massive anti-government rallies on August 14, Pakistan’s Independence Day, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday vowed to resist any move to topple his government by a moderate cleric and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan who will take out their protest marches on the same day.

Canada-based Pakistani cleric Tahirul Qadri last night said his ‘Revolution March’ would go along with Khan’s ‘Freedom March’ on Thursday demanding the ouster of the Nawaz Sharif government.

‘The Inqlab (revolution) march will begin on August 14 towards Islamabad. The revolution and Azadi (freedom) march of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan will go together,’ the Canada-based cleric?told the participants of the Martyrs’ Day in Model Town here.

‘No one will return till the government is toppled and the system changed,’ Qadri, who has been slapped with 8 FIRs under murder and terrorism charges, said.

While Qadri wants to topple the government for its anti-poor policies and corruption, Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party is protesting against electoral fraud in the 2013 polls won by Sharif’s PML-N.
Khan has vowed to bring Islamabad to a standstill and plans to bring one million people to the capital.

He has said that his party will paralyse the capital until its demands for Sharif to resign and call new elections are met. Sharif lambasted the two for pressing ahead with their plans to hold protest rallies and said he would resist any move to topple the government which he said was formed for five years through the mandate of the people.

Sharif while addressing the launch of the Vision 2025 programme in Islamabad criticised the timing of the rallies.

‘The runaway from Canada should have participated in the 2013 general elections if he wanted to bring a ‘revolution’ in Pakistan,’ he said about Qadri, a dual national, who returned in June.

He also said that PTI chief should have held the Azadi march during the general elections and not a year after they were held.

Sharif expressed readiness to address Khan’s concerns over rigging of last year polls through talks. He said he was ready to meet him anywhere. He lamented that the some politicians have not learnt from the past when the country faced military rulers. He promised to defend the democracy.

It is believed that Khan and Qadri will give very tough time to Sharif?s government and may result in the intervention of army if the law and order situation go out of control.

Pakistan government has already handed over the security of capital Islamabad to the army for three months. According to reports, Army will guard key government installations and other sensitive spots.


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