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Pakistan braces for anti-government rallies on Independence Day

Islamabad/Lahore: Pakistan is bracing for two massive anti-government rallies by Canada-based Pakistani cleric Tahirul Qadri and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan on August 14, the day Pakistan celebrates its 68th Independence Day.Qadri had said that his 'Inqlab
India TV News Desk August 13, 2014 13:06 IST
India TV News Desk
Islamabad/Lahore: Pakistan is bracing for two massive anti-government rallies by Canada-based Pakistani cleric Tahirul Qadri and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan on August 14, the day Pakistan celebrates its 68th Independence Day.

Qadri had said that his 'Inqlab (Revolution) March' would go along with Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan's 'Azadi (Freedom) March' on Thursday demanding the ouster of the Nawaz Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) government.

Qadri, who has been slapped with 8 FIRs under murder and terrorism charges, had told the participants of the Martyrs' Day in Model Town, "No one will return till the government is toppled and the system changed."

While Qadri's 'Inqlab March' is for toppling the government for its anti-poor policies and corruption, PTI's ‘Azadi March' is against the electoral fraud in last year's general election which was won by the PML-N.

The PTI chief has vowed to bring Islamabad to a standstill. He has claimed to bring one million people to the capital for the ‘Azadi March'.

There are reports that the anti-government rallies by Qadri and Khan will give very tough time to the PML-N government and may call for Army's intervention if the law and order situation go out of control.

It should be noted that the government has already handed over the security of capital to the Army for three months. The government has also called in paramilitary forces.

Army is a powerful institution and has ruled the country for more than half of its history since inception of Pakistan in 1947.

All the entries towards the Red Zone, which houses the Parliament, President House, Prime Minister residence, government secretariat, Supreme Court, foreign office, diplomatic enclave and several other important offices in the capital, have been blocked.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday extended an olive branch to his opponents by announcing to set up a commission of Supreme Court judges to probe the charges of rigging in the last year's elections.

Sharif made the announcement in a televised speech to the nation ahead of planned opposition protests on Thursday.

“I will ask the Chief Justice of Pakistan to appoint a three-member panel of judges of the Supreme Court to probe the allegations of rigging in the polls,” Sharif said.