The two leaders of the ongoing march on Islamabad have been asked to appear in court. They have called on supporters to blockade the parliament building and ‘let no one out.’
Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday summoned opposition leaders Imran Khan and Tahir ul-Qadri to appear in court on Thursday over protests to call for the prime minister’s resignation.
After five days of protesting in the capital of Islamabad, thousands of demonstrators blockaded the parliament building on Wednesday. Qadri had called on supporters to not let anyone out of the building.
Police did not intervene, despite the thousands of demonstrators penetrating the heavily fortified “Red Zone” around the parliament building and setting up camp there. A number of them are said to be carrying gas masks and batons.
The cleric Qadri, founder and leader of the party Pakistan Awami Tehreek, and former cricket star and leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party Imran Khan are both leading different camps, but agree that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should step down for corruption.
Khan said PM Sharif’s house would be stormed should he refuse to step down from office.
“If Nawaz Sharif does not resign then we will enter into the PM House,” Khan said last night while addressing to protesters, outside the parliament.
Khan said that he has given Prime Minister Sharif until Wednesday evening to resign.
Democracy and military rule
Sharif won a landslide victory last year, his third term. During the 1990s, he headed the government twice before going into exile as a result of the 1999 military coup. He has refused to resign, raising fears that the military will step in if both of the protest leaders and the head of government remain inflexible.
Last year’s polls marked Pakistan’s first successful democratic transfer of power since its statehood in 1947.
Amid the ongoing economic woes, rampant power outages and the ever increasing menace of home-grown Islamist terrorism, the current unrest has sparked fears of another military coup. It would be the fourth in the history of the nuclear-armed nation.