The looming confrontation has renewed the political role of the military, casting some doubt on the strength of democratic institutions in a nuclear-armed nation that has seen several coups and has been ruled by the army for half its history.
Nisar said that the government had received formal applications for holding the long marches from both the PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and they would be granted permission in a few hours’ time.
The PML-N senior leaders told the army chief that while it would allow PTI to enter the capital, it has resolved not to allow the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) led by preacher-politician Dr Tahirul Qadri to take out his ‘Inqilab March’ to Islamabad in wake of provocative speeches made by the firebrand cleric.
Lending credence to the source’s claim, the Punjab government late on Monday night started placing containers near the house of the PTI chief, who arrived in Lahore on Monday evening to lead the Azadi March to Islamabad on Independence Day.
“You are requested to direct your party to interact with the ICT administration so that the very serious and fragile security situation (particularly with reference to ongoing Zarb-e-Azb operation) should be thoroughly thrashed out.”
“Prime Minister Sharif is quite capable of shooting himself in the foot by reacting heavy-handedly to the planned protests. The real test is whether Imran Khan is successful in provoking a move from the military for fresh elections or a caretaker government.”
Notwithstanding the impact of his “joke” on the nation, the PAT chief went on to accuse the Punjab government of creating a negative image of his ‘revolution’.
“Do you want a revolution?” the PAT chief asked his supporters thrice, telling them that he is prepared to get killed along with them.
The FIR [First Information Report] against Qadri was registered by the Naseerabad Police in Lahore on the complaint of the deceased constable’s father, who alleged that his son was returning home after dispensing his official duty at Faisal Town when followers of Dr Qadri attacked him with batons, resulting in fatal head injuries and subsequent death at the hospital.
PAT workers had set alight the Quaidabad police station in Khushab district Friday night. Official records and furniture were burnt to ashes, while PAT workers had allegedly freed 11 accused from the lockup. They had overpowered eight police officials, beat them up and kept them hostage for over two hours.
Sources told Pakistan Today that the chief minister had issued orders for Qadri’s arrest after his baton-wielding followers clashed with policemen in Model Town in which several policemen and PAT workers were seriously injured, and police had to resort to firing tear-gas shells at the protesters.