Pakistan Protesters Head Towards Capital
Supporters of Imran Khan and Tahir ul- Qadri demand Prime Minister Sharif ‘ s
resignation as they converge on Islamabad .
Thousands of opposition activists in Pakistan are heading towards the capital ,
Islamabad , demanding that the prime minister step down.
They are heeding to separate calls by two leading figures , Imran Khan of the
Tehrik -e – Insaf ( PTI ) party, and an influential religious leader , Tahir ul-Qadri, to
converge on the capital to mount pressure on the prime minister.
The rallies are seen as the strongest challenge yet to the government of Nawaz
Sharif, just a year after he took office in the first democratic transfer of power in a
country long plagued by military coups .
As of Friday morning, Qadri’ s convoy was about 150km from Islamabad , and
Khan ‘ s 75km further away – both with a few thousand protesters in tow.
The protesters set out on Thursday from the city of Lahore in cars, trucks and
buses, while others walked or drove motorcycles as they embarked on the 300 km
long journey to Islamabad .
The protest comes after days of escalating political tensions in Pakistan . Khan ,
the leader of the PTI, the third- largest party in parliament , is demanding a fresh
general election , alleging that Sharif ’ s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz ( PML- N)
party rigged the 2013 polls .
Khan ‘ s PTI won 34 seats in the National Assembly in that election , compared to
the PML-N ‘ s 189.