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Islamabad tense as cleric seeks dissolution of assemblies by Tuesday noon

Maverick Report

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani-Canadian, who led a march on Islamabad, has set the deadline of 11 a.m. on Tuesday for the dissolution of the assemblies, declaring that the president, prime minister, chief ministers and ministers morally do no more hold their offices.

dr_tahir_ul_qadri

Dr Tahirul Qadri, the head of Tehrik Minhaj-ul-Quran who launched a long march from Lahore on Sunday, reached Islamabad a little after midnight on Monday.

In his brief address to his supporters at Jinnah Avenue, where the local administration had made arrangements for his supporters to stage a sit-in, Dr Qadri said that Interior Minister Rehman Malik did not keep the promise of allowing him stage sit-in at D Square in front of the Parliament House. He asked the local administration to shift his stage to the promised place (D Square) within five minutes after he ends his address.

Addressing thousands of supporters, Dr Qadri said it was not a formal address rather he wanted to make a few announcements. Setting deadline of 11 a.m. on Tuesday to dissolve the assemblies, he warned that people would make their own decisions if his demand was not met.

Dr Qadri told his supporters that their march has ended and revolution has taken place. He invited President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and other government functionaries, calling them former president, former prime minister, etc, as well as other political leaders, including Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Asfandyar Wali Khan, to visit him at the venue of his sit-in.

Photo by Arsalan Zaidi, January 14, 2013

The Pakistani-Canadian cleric told his supporters to remain peaceful and asked them to protect the public property. Saying that he does not want to disrupt functioning of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and foreign embassies in the Diplomatic Enclave, he stressed upon his supporters to avoid venturing beyond the D Square in front of the Parliament House.

Dr Qadri also said that hundreds of thousands people are stilling heading to Islamabad from different cities and towns on foot. He praised the media for good coverage of his long march.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rehman Malik listened to Dr Qadri in the National Crisis Management Cell and later convened an emergency meeting of the administration and law-enforcement officials to discuss the latest situation. The prime minister also started consulting his ministers as soon as Dr Qadri ended his brief address.

Interestingly, the supporters of Dr Qadri started marching towards D Square as soon as their leader stepped down from the stage and started removing the barbed wire fences on their way.

The government also took prompt action and directed the law-enforcement agencies not to let the protesters reach the D Square. The security officials immediately sprang into action and started deploying security cordons to bar the protesters from marching towards the Parliament House.

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