Pakistan seals capital ahead of protests

Pakistan’s government has deployed thousands of security personnel and put up barricades to deny entry to protesters who want to march into Islamabad. Cricketer-turned-politician and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief and Canada-based preacher Tahir-ul-Qadri plan to march on the city on Thursday, Pakistan’s independence day, to demand Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation.

Both leaders allege the government was formed as a result of rigged elections in May 2013. Khan has given the call for an ‘azadi’ (independence) march and Qadri for an ‘inqilab’ (revolution) march. On Wednesday, Islamabad’s inspector general of police told Khan that security for his long march won’t be assured due to the imposition of section 144 (restriction on gathering of more than four persons) in the capital city.

He warned Khan about the possibility of a terror attack in the wake of military operations in the North Waziristan tribal region. Despite shipping containers having been placed on all roads in and outside Islamabad, ruling PMLN sources said the government was uncertain about the success of its efforts to stop the protesters on the periphery of the capital city

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