Pakistan braces for more protests, Imran Khan to march on Parliament
Imran Khan had called on his supporters to march on the heavily-guarded 'Red Zone'
Islamabad: Pakistan was on the edge on Tuesday after opposition leader Imran Khan called on his supporters to march on the heavily-guarded 'Red Zone' in the capital and cleric Tahir-ul Qadri said he will set up an alternate Parliament to force Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign and hold fresh elections.
"Today InshaAllah a peaceful non-violent Azadi March will move on 2 Constitution Ave.I will lead the March myself. Defining moment 4 Pakistan," Khan tweeted. "Our Azadi March is constitutional & democratic," the cricketer-turned-politician, who spent the night in a shipping container at the site of the sit-in, said.
The government has so far forbidden protesters from breaching the Red Zone housing key state buildings like Supreme Court of Pakistan, Parliament House, the President and the Prime Minister's residences and other important buildings including embassies of various countries.
Khan accuses Sharif's PML-N party of vote-rigging in the 2013 election and has called on him to stand down. Sharif's party won that election by a landslide in what was Pakistan's first peaceful transfer of power between two civilian democratic governments.
In the 2013 polls, Sharif's PML-N had won 190 out of 342 seats. Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf got 34 seats in the 342-member National Assembly, the third largest bloc in the legislature. Security has been tightened in the area after Khan called on marchers to enter it to stage a peaceful protest in the 'fake' (National) assembly and 'fake' Prime Minister House.
More than 40,000 security personnel have been deployed to protest the sensitive areas. Khan's party on Monday decided to withdraw its lawmakers from the National Assembly and all provincial assemblies except Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, There are fears that any attempt by marchers to breach the Red Zone could lead to confrontation.
Khan has been demonstrating along with thousands of his supporters in the capital since Friday to demand the government's resignation. Thousands of anti-government protesters are occupying two Islamabad highways. Meanwhile, Qadri also announced that he will set up 'Awami Parliament' (People's Parliament) on Tuesday and refused to meet the PML-N government-appointed committee of lawmakers to hold talks with him.
( Source : PTI )