Rival marches: Ruling party on collision course with PTI

Published: July 12, 2014
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairperson Imran Khan. PHOTO: INP

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairperson Imran Khan. PHOTO: INP


The government is planning to hold an Independence Day rally at Islamabad’s D-Chowk on August 14, setting up a possible showdown with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which plans to hold a protest at the same venue on the same day.

“We are planning to celebrate Independence Day at D-Chowk,” Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid told The Express Tribune on Friday.

“Before 1999 – when our government was toppled – D-Chowk used to be the traditional venue for the biggest function to commemorate August 14,” he said, explaining the government’s choice of venue. The move, however, puts the government on a collision course with the PTI, which has already announced D-Chowk as the venue for its August 14 ‘tsunami march’ against alleged rigging in the 2013 elections.

As part of its strategy to avert a showdown, the government may opt to reserve the venue for its Independence Day rally and advise PTI activists to hold their protest elsewhere in the federal capital.

Rashid defended the government’s decision to hold its August 14 celebrations at D-Chowk and dismissed notions that it was aimed at thwarting PTI’s rally.

“The tradition of holding the Independence Day function at D-Chowk began before the PTI even existed… it has nothing to do with the PTI,” the minister said. When asked if the venue and the main road leading to it had been dug up for the Metro Bus project, he said “it is not a big issue.”

PTI’s August 14 protest and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri’s threat of ‘revolution’ also came under discussion during a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan at the Prime Minister’s House on Friday, sources said.

The huddle, which was another one in a series of meetings Nisar has had with the premier following last week’s patch-up between him the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leadership, discussed strategies to tackle the two political developments. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif also attended the meetings.

According to sources, the government is mulling three different options, one of which calls for putting both parties’ leadership under house arrest on the eve of their planned rallies. Being in charge of internal security, Nisar has been tasked with finalising a ‘prudent’ strategy to tackle the two political threats.

Security for major cities discussed

The interior minister and the premier also discussed security measures for major cities in the wake of threats rising from the ongoing military operation against militants in North Waziristan, an official of the Prime Minister’s House said.

According to him, Nisar briefed Prime Minister Nawaz on the latest security assessment and vulnerable points in case of possible retaliation from militants, some of whom may have already sneaked into the major cities of the country.

“The interior minister also briefed the prime minister on the level of preparedness in the wake of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, its possible impact on Karachi and the impact of IDPs on Bannu and other cities,” the official, who was privy to the meeting, said.

The government has already handed over the security of sensitive installations to the army.

During his trip to Karachi a day earlier, the premier was told by traders that despite the targeted operation against criminals, extortion and kidnapping for ransom cases had not subsided. There were also demands for a military operation in some areas of Karachi which have become havens for militants and other outlaws.

PM meets federal cabinet

The meeting with the interior minister was followed by another one between the prime minister and his cabinet which the former was not part of. The second huddle mainly focused on economic issues.

Prime Minister Nawaz was briefed about the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor projects by Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, an official handout said.

Those who attended the second meeting included Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Water and Power Minister Khawaja Asif, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, Shahbaz Sharif and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (52)

  • Sohaib Irshad
    Jul 12, 2014 - 9:38AM

    You know whose going to be there no matter what you say or do! 31 days to go! :xD


  • Ubaid
    Jul 12, 2014 - 9:54AM

    This rival march will turn out be the first and final nail in the coffin of ruling party BRING IT ON..


  • M Adeel Qureshi
    Jul 12, 2014 - 10:00AM

    Independence day is celebrated to show the solidarity and harmony, not for demonstration. Its a national day, don’t spoil it, make it memorable.


  • Kazmis
    Jul 12, 2014 - 10:02AM

    Jugglers show?


  • A J KHAN
    Jul 12, 2014 - 10:09AM

    Down fall of PML N is imminent. If they repeat Model Town action in Islamabad, D Chowk will become political grave yard of PML N


  • Aysha M
    Jul 12, 2014 - 10:23AM

    Shallow and selfish leadership produced by Lahore, both IK and MNS.


  • Mohammad
    Jul 12, 2014 - 10:24AM

    In sha Allah you will watch as PTI activists, PAT workers and the awam storm peacefully into the capital and the government will be toppled and a new setup established for the betterment of Pakistan.


  • H Chaudhry
    Jul 12, 2014 - 10:26AM

    I am afraid PTI is up for a rude awakening. It is extremely disrespectful by PTI the way they are putting down people of Punjab and their vote for PMLN. PMLN can and will show its political muscle. I just hope it doesnt happen because end will not be good for PTI.

    @Ubaid PMLN government will complete its term, stop day dreaming. Imran has lost his mind and with his characterless life now again exposed by Arsalan, pathetic performance in KPK and continous work by PMLN will triumph stupid PTI rhetoric.


  • Usman Aziz
    Jul 12, 2014 - 10:27AM

    The Ruling party is seriously afraid of ‘Azadi March’ so such atrocities were expected, Govt. should spend on paying Electricity producing companies to avoid long hours of worst load shedding or give all the money of fake celebrations to IDPs


  • Sami
    Jul 12, 2014 - 10:45AM

    PMLn has mentality of a dictator. I miss Mr. Zardari’s patience.


  • asad ashfaq
    Jul 12, 2014 - 11:14AM

    Pakistan Zindabad


  • Xman
    Jul 12, 2014 - 11:49AM

    I remember how in the “good ole days” D Chowk in Islamabad used to be such beautiful wide open space where people from around the country (and world) would come with their families to watch the proceedings of 14th August and 23rd March. Now political acrobats like IK Have mauled it as a no go area, suffocated by security pickets and police all around the year. PTI should not be allowed to desecrate that already dilapidated piece of town, and should instead set up their political circus in the wide open space around Rawat.


  • Saeed Chaudhary
    Jul 12, 2014 - 12:00PM

    Nawaz Sharif’s refusal to look into rigging allegations in four constituencies per PTI’s demand after having agreed in the National Assembly and now it’s decision to hold Independence Day rally at the same place where PTI wants to hold its protest speaks of ruling party’s arrogance and usual confrontational politics which have brought its previous ruling tenures to pathetic ends. It shows it hasn’t learnt from the past and is continuing to commit same mistakes. It believes it can get away with its election rigging committed by the PMLN with the collusion of the election tribunals and the connivance of the judiciary. It is apparent that those who have become used to rob the country through their sophisticated measures will not give up easily. But a day is not far when the people of the country will get rid of these looters and robbers.


  • LoosingBattle
    Jul 12, 2014 - 12:27PM

    PMLN, please come to your senses and don’t give in to your Gullo Butts! Let this parade go. It’s not going to bring down your empire. But if you don’t have patient… You will just have yourself to blame for your demise and no one.


  • Waqas
    Jul 12, 2014 - 12:33PM

    For the record, Mr. Zardari we miss you.Recommend

  • Umar Khan
    Jul 12, 2014 - 12:47PM

    @ Chaudhry,
    Till the time we have chaudhrys like you, our country doesn’t need an enemy from outside, it is destined for self destruction.

    @ the article,
    It is a really low action from PMLN, It shows how shivering they are from the rally, before even it started. IK, do what you have to do, we are with you.

    If it was upto these commentators and critisizers of peaceful legal rallies for the right cause which is known to everyone now through media (clear factual systematic rigging), our country will always remain the 10th world developing country as it is now.


  • Fawad
    Jul 12, 2014 - 12:47PM

    Strange decision by the ruling family limited company. If they are so much concerned for democracy’s derailment, they should work on genuine intra party elections to prove their love for democracy.


  • Frank
    Jul 12, 2014 - 12:51PM

    This is just insane. The ruling PML-N is actively seeking out confrontation when it is in its interest to avoid it and to give the impression of calm and control. The Sharifs are on a suicide mission.

    Where are all those people who said Nawaz Sharif had returned a wiser man, as if you can grow brain cells by travelling.


  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Jul 12, 2014 - 1:01PM

    The ones who traditionally protest on 14th August is India or the bandits and thugs otherwise known as TTP. Now we can add IK and Mullah Canadvi to that treacherous list as well.

    The day marks our independence and calls for peace and harmony but alas, that designer Sherwani which Yves Saint Laurent stitched for IK is dangling from the closet and collecting dust and IK feels that by 2018 this Sherwani would go out of fashion. He’ll do whatever it takes to don that sherwani no matter what. Country be damned!


  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Jul 12, 2014 - 1:03PM

    More than this March, PTI should instead be focusing on furnishing a plausible response to Arsalan’s allegations.


  • Wali
    Jul 12, 2014 - 1:12PM

    Are they out of their mind… Instead of cooling the temperaturess down and avoid confrontation, as any sensible government would do, the current lot take the cake for making one wrong decision after the other – whilst being run as a family plc.


  • Malveros
    Jul 12, 2014 - 1:14PM

    I am afraid more for PTI than PAT. If MNS gives the signal to his supporters to show their political muscle on the streets, the numbers will be so huge that the Mummy Daddy Tsumani will disappear forever. The PTI supporters who are day dreaming and passing comments like “Bring It On” will be in for a massive surprise and a rude awakening. August 14 is for Independence Day where the military will display its activities in front of diplomats. There is no place there for PTI hoodlums.


  • Khalid
    Jul 12, 2014 - 1:22PM

    PTI activists are the most peaceful people but if challenged they can turn into weapons of mass destruction ….beware.


  • Jul 12, 2014 - 1:37PM

    they are digging a hole for themselves…
    it’s ridiculous for a party in government to act in such immature manner.

    Hope to see 14th August as a bright day for Naya Pakistan.


  • LA traffic
    Jul 12, 2014 - 1:44PM

    They will hold rival celebration for two weeks but watch they will begging for mercy before the first day.


  • azhmbb
    Jul 12, 2014 - 1:44PM

    @ H Choudhary: man wat work are u reffering to? Da fact dat PML N lied to the parliament and da nation regarding da GDP growth (lowest in past 5 yrs), or about da fudged economic figures or about the EXTREMELY long hours of load shedding in Lahore (so called sultanate of PML N), or about da exorbitantly high prices of essential commodities in Lahore!!!


  • Kamran
    Jul 12, 2014 - 1:50PM

    A revolution is coming, a revolution which will be peaceful if fraudulent are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we try hard enough; but a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability. “An army of the people is invincible!”


  • H Chaudhry
    Jul 12, 2014 - 2:02PM

    Lets see PMLN muscle. They got huge vote in Punjab and it is about time that vote is respected. I urge PMLN to come out in full force and shut these fake inquillabies with low moral and characterless lives. Lets give PMLN time they were voted for in and than judge them. IK should be brought to justice for trying to destroy PAkistan economy. Which international investor will come to Pakistan when they see this drama by losers of elections.


  • LA traffic
    Jul 12, 2014 - 2:03PM

    @Aysha Ahmed Shah Abdali was born in Multan but he is a celebrated Afghan. Place of birth don’t mean a thing.


  • ozair
    Jul 12, 2014 - 2:11PM

    PMLN trying to repeat the same thing which MQM did on 12 May 2007. Disgusting tactics.


  • Salman Ahmed
    Jul 12, 2014 - 2:27PM

    Sick people who are not giving money to the IDPs but can spend money on these celebrations.

    What happened to security risks that PMLN were talking about until recently?

    I hope that the Army tells them to stop this rubbish and pay this money to the IDPs or to the cost of the operation.


  • Yahya
    Jul 12, 2014 - 2:58PM

    Great, things would then go out of control for sure and eventually would result in the demise of PML-N govt. Pakistan Zindabad!


  • Aslam Shah
    Jul 12, 2014 - 3:09PM

    Is PMLN inviting opponents to its own funeral?


  • Aysha M
    Jul 12, 2014 - 3:30PM


    Bring it on, so high school

    Like leader, like led. Confrontation at a time when the country is at war, escapes all reasoning


  • Ali
    Jul 12, 2014 - 4:19PM

    @H Chaudhry

    I truly respect your views about PMLN.

    I would like to know from you about the management progress of PCB during last year?

    I’m sure all department and institutions of Pakistan would be similar to PCB after 5 years if PMLN completed its tenure. Forget about IK and Qadri truly think about Pakistan!!

    PMLN have been failed to resolve the fundamental problems of common people though they have been working hard for their own interests. You accept it or deny it neither can change the reality and reality is very visible from PMLN.


  • Malveros
    Jul 12, 2014 - 4:27PM

    @Aysha M:
    I could say the same for Karachi and AH. Shallow, Selfish and Poor Leadership.


  • Malveros
    Jul 12, 2014 - 5:03PM

    PTI and PAT are in for a surprise on 14th August.


  • Jibran
    Jul 12, 2014 - 5:13PM

    After 4 years, either there would be PTI or PMLN. One of them will be wiped out. Let’s see which one.


  • Jibran
    Jul 12, 2014 - 5:16PM

    Nawaz Sharif is the Modern Day Nero….. Extravagance when the IDPs are starving!


  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Jul 12, 2014 - 5:51PM


    You got that right Sir ji…..a proverbial rug being pulled from under the feet is about to happen for these full time chanda collectors and moonlighting politicians. BRING IT ON I SAY!


  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Jul 12, 2014 - 5:54PM


    Musharraf, Sheeda, Chaudhries, IK, Mullah Canadvi, Zardari and as assorted cast of villians have been praying for the demise of PML-N for long. Take a number and get in the line.


  • A Peshawary
    Jul 12, 2014 - 6:13PM

    Anxiously waiting for all Punjabi political leaders show down, if any.

    A Peshawary


  • LHR
    Jul 12, 2014 - 7:30PM

    @Adnan Siddiqi:
    Quote of the day man!
    “The ones who traditionally protest on 14th August is India and thugs of TTP. Now we can add IK and Mullah Canadvi to that treacherous list as well”


  • Tsunami!
    Jul 12, 2014 - 7:30PM

    @Aysha M:
    “Bring it on…” It’ll be! What’s up with you? You just joined hands with them, didn’t you? Go, finish those projects before he change his mind or loose the Govt, Quick! As a mater of fact; IK is bringing a Tsunami. Move to higher grounds please, not toward it. Your man is not very smart, is he, what is he expecting he’ll do? He will be held responsible whatever comes!


  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jul 12, 2014 - 8:54PM

    No elected government can be removed with use of force or violence. Anyone who attempts it, will be toppled next day and process will go on till all of us are killed.


  • ItGoesBothWay
    Jul 13, 2014 - 12:22AM

    @Ch. Allah Daad: And neither can a public voice and right to rally be stopped by use of force and violence.


  • Cool
    Jul 13, 2014 - 12:26AM

    When will Imran Khan answer Arsalan Iftikhar’s questions?
    When will Imran answer Geo’s anchor Iftikhar Ahmed’s questions?
    Imran always abuses, blames and accuses others in his public rallies and interviews.
    Nation is waiting for the answer on the above-mentioned questions.


  • H Chaudhry
    Jul 13, 2014 - 8:46AM

    @Umar Khan I think you are referring to me? So because I dont agree with PTI supporters and I am asking for a Government to let run its course and respect the vote of punjab for PMLN I am suddenly an enemy of country? Not sure if I get your logic.


  • syed nasim
    Jul 13, 2014 - 5:30PM

    Instead of wasting money on celebrations, PMLN should donate the amount towards the welfare of IDPs.


  • manzoor
    Jul 14, 2014 - 10:09AM

    @syed nasim:
    same suggestion for ik n pti


  • Zara
    Jul 14, 2014 - 12:55PM

    Why didn’t we observe this TRADITIONAL CELEBRATION at D-Chowk last year.
    Show some tolerance PMLN and don’t prove Urself Mughals of new era , again and again.


  • NoProblem!
    Jul 14, 2014 - 2:30PM

    @syed nasim: Because it’s not their money they will be throwing, its public funds, compare to IK using party loyal fundings.


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