On Pakistan’s 68th Independence Day, anti-government drives by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) headed towards Islamabad to protest against alleged electoral rigging, calling for a resignation by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and introduction of electoral reforms.
Government’s attempt to urge PTI chief Imran Khan to call off march and administratively controlling PAT workers bore no fruit as both parties continue their anti-government rallies in Islamabad.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan announced a civil disobedience movement against the “corrupt and incompetent” federal government on Sunday and stepping up pressure on the government, PTI also resigned from its seats in the National Assembly, and provincial assemblies in Punjab and Sindh.
The decision of winding up its government in Khyber Pakhtukhwa province pending until consultations with its coalition partners.
Khan, on Monday, vowed to lead the march to ‘Red Zone’ of the federal capital on Tuesday evening after his deadline for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign expires.
Fears of violence and clashes persist in Punjab and the federal capital.
Article 245 has also been invoked in the capital, summoning the army for combating security risks.
All stories on Azadi March and Inquilab March since their inception on August 14 can be found here and here, respectively.
Below are the updates for Tuesday’s happenings , Day 6 of the protest rallies in Islamabad:
Qadri addresses sit-in
The participants of the Inqilab March have total faith in the principles of Qaid-i-Azam, the Constitution & the State pic.twitter.com/NLJnQyGxqM
— Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri (@TahirulQadri) August 19, 2014
On expiration of the deadline to the government by PAT, chief Dr.Qadri addressed the sit-in rally in Islamabad.
He announced to march towards the Parliament House and stage the sit-in ‘peacefully’.
He vowed not to return until the arrests of PM Sharif and CM Punjab Shehbaz Sharif, who he said, are responsible for martyrs of 14 people in Model Town on June 17, 2014
The deadline given by PTI leadership to the government for accepting the party’s demands expired at 6pm.
Meanwhile, the gates of the Parliament house have been closed and sealed with barbed wire.
Nisar addresses press conference
Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar addressed a press conference and announced that the security of the Red Zone has been handed over to the Army, adding that the security of the national capital will not be compromised upon.
PHOTO BY AGENCIES
The interior minister added that the security arrangement at the Red Zone would comprise of three tiers, first of police, second of Rangers and third would be of the Army.
He said that the Imran Khan opted for a long march instead of finding a constitutional way for solution of his reservations.
He said that the government is ready for vote recounting even in 20 constituencies and would make sure to hold the election riggers accountable.
Nisar added that the sit-ins have led to a complete shutdown of the twin cities, causing trouble for the public and the diplomats.
He said that Imran Khan had assured not to enter the Red Zone and he had, on Khan’s word, permitted to stage the sit-in.
Non-bailable arrest warrants for Qadri
A local court has issued non-bailable arrest warrants for PAT chief Tahir ul Qadri and 71 others on accusations of beating up policemen at Ghakar Mandi Police Station in Gujranwala.
The court ordered to arrest Qadri and present him before anti-terrorism court on August 23.
Core committee decides to stick with plan
PTI, after concluding its core committee meeting on Tuesday, announced not to take part in any dialogue with the government and stick with its plan to march to the Red Zone at 6pm.
It was also reported that the party is arranging for cranes to remove containers placed on the route to the Red Zone.
PM briefed on Red Zone security measures
PM Nawaz Sharif met with Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Raheel Sharif and reviewed security situation the Red Zone.
Earlier, Federal ministers for Defence and Interior, Khawaja Asif and Chaudhry Nisar, respectively, briefed PM Nawaz Sharif about the security arrangements put in place at federal capital’s Red Zone.
Nisar told the PM that around 40,000 security personnel have been deployed in Red Zone to protect public life and property, including government installations, in the zone.
Khursheed Shah offers talks
National Assembly Opposition Leader Syed Khursheed Shah said that the country’s political parties are united to safeguard the constitution and are willing to hold talks with PTI and PAT leaders.
Ahsan urges Khan to stay away from Red Zone
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday urged PTI and PAT to restrain from provocation by not entering the Red Zone.
Talking to media, Iqbal that Khan and Qadri had previously assured the government that they will be non-violent and will avoid entry into the Red Zone.
Khan assures peaceful protest
Today InshaAllah r peaceful non-violent Azadi March will move on 2 Constitution Ave.I will lead the March myself. Defining moment 4 Pakistan
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 19, 2014
No talks with govt
The top leaderships of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) have refused to hold talks with government and opposition negotiators, saying that it is too late to negotiate now.
Sources said that after refusal of the PTI leadership to not talk to government negotiators, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed senior ministers to reach out to other like-minded politicians in so that they could be included in the committee, and can help thwart the Azadi March led by Imran Khan toward the Red Zone in the evening, after his 48-hour deadline given to the government ends at 6pm.
Late on Monday night, PAT chief Tahirul Qadri refused to meet Aftab Ahmed Sherpao and Ejazul Haq who had sought a sitting with the preacher to persuade him to come to the talks table.
Transporters to file FIR against Khan, Qadri
Transporters from Karachi Goods and Transporters Association have announced to file a FIR against Imran Khan and Dr. Tahirul Qasri, a local news channel reported.
The announcement added that the FIR would be filed against the PTI,PAT leaders for causing damage to vehicles and containers in their protest rallies marching to Islamabad.