LAHORE: The long march against the resumption of Nato supplies through Pakistan as announced by Difa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC) started from Lahore on Sunday and is expected to reach Islamabad tomorrow, Express News has reported.
Hundreds of cars were part of the procession.
The participants included activists from Jamatud Dawa (JuD), Ahle Sunnat Waljamat (formerly known as Sipah-e-Sahaba), Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI), and Jamat-e-Islami (JI).
JI’s caravan had already reached Nasir Bagh under the leadership of Amirul Azeem where JuD ‘s caravan, led by Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, joined it.
JuD’s caravan had proceeded from Masjid-e-Shuada where JI leader Sayed Munawar Hasan, DPC chairman Molana Samiul Haq, former ISI chief General (r) Hamid Gul, his son Abdullah Gul, Pakistan Ulema Council head Maulana Tahir Ashrafi and other leaders joined them. The leaders were mounted on a truck, which also doubled as a moveable stage.
A number of JD and Hizbul Mujahideen activists were providing security to the truck.
The leaders delivered speeches at Istanbul Chowk at The Mall in front of Town Hall.
Addressing the protesters, Maulana Samiul Haq said they were holding a long march to save Pakistan and Afghanistan from the clutches of the US, adding that their movement would continue until complete withdrawal of US forces from Pakistan and Afghanistan.
He said suspension of Nato Supply is one of their goals, urging the masses to join them towards Islamabad.
Addressing the gathering, JI’s Syed Munawar Hasan said the long march was a sigh of relief for the people from the anti-people policies of the government, reiterating Haq’s stance of continuing the struggle till complete ouster of US forces from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
He said the government was trying to make Pakistan a colony of the US and hence the DPC was holding the march to rid the country of this slavery, asking those, who are against drone attacks and terrorism to join the long march.
Saeed also urged the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to join the DPC long march, adding that those who were not joining the DPC were part of the government and would be equally responsible for the government’s decisions, including allowing resumption of Nato supply.
The protest was welcomed by a large number of JuD supporters at Shahdara Chowk, and Muridkey. The participants are scheduled to spend the night in Gujrat.
On July 9 the long march would leave Gujrat at 10 am and would reach Islamabad on the same day through Lala Musa, Kharian, Sarai Alamgir, Jehlum, Dina, Sohawa, Gujar Khan. The leaders will decide the final venue for the march after consultation with participants from Rawalpindi and Islamabad, which could be either the D ground or some ground in Aabpara.
DPC activists, media clash as Gen (r) Hamid Gul faints
During the march, there were also reports of General (R) Hamid Gul fainting at Shahdara, where he was rushed back in an ambulance, provided by Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation, an offshoot of JD. Activists of JD clashed with some photographers and cameramen of different media outlets for filming the episode, terming it as embarrassing for them.
‘Government will not stop DPC long march’
Senior Advisor to Prime Minister on Interior Affairs Rehman Malik has said that the government will not stop the DPC long march, letting them to record their protest against Nato supplies resumption in front of Parliament on Monday.
“We will not stop DPC long march. By letting the DPC to hold rallies, we want to prove the government’s stance that that country’s ‘deep state’ is not involved in DPC’s genesis,” Malik said on Sunday.
However, while briefing the media over the long march, he said that the Government would not allow leaders of banned outfits to participate in this procession.
“Individuals of banned organizations and others placed on Schedule – IV of the anti-terrorism act will not be allowed to enter into Islamabad.”
Chairman National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) will install CCTV long range cameras on various commercial areas of federal capital, while Secretary Interior Sadiq-e-Akbar will monitor the proceedings of the long march and speeches by their leaders.
Islamabad police, including Frontier Constabulary and Rangers will be deployed along the route of the long march to protect the participants as well as public and private properties.
Akbar said that the DPC had ensured that the procession would remain peaceful.
Four helicopters were assigned to conduct aerial monitoring from both sides of Jinnah Avenue, Islamabad while two helicopters would also be provided to Rawalpindi police for aerial surveillance.
Eariler, speaking at the DPC All Parties Conference, Maulana Samiul Haq said that the re-opening of Nato supplies was an insult to the parliament. On behalf of the participants of the APC, he demanded that the government resign.
He said that the long march was not just against re-opening Nato supplies but also against corruption, the increase in prices and power outages. He said that drivers, conductors, helpers and mechanics of Nato containers should refuse to work on them since advancing the Nato supply was an “un-Islamic act.”
As per a media briefing by Maulana Samiul Haq, the long march is expected to reach Gujrat on Sunday from where it will proceed towards D Ground in Islamabad in front of the Parilament House where the procession will be held.
According to Haq, this was the first phase of their protests and the second phase would hold marches from from Quetta to Chaman, Karachi to Hyderabad, Multan to Dera Ghazi Khan, Sargodha to Mianwali, Peshawar to Khyber Pass, Rawalpindi to Chakwal Talagang, Faisalabad to Sargodha, Khushab and Islamabad.