Islamabad sit-in updates: Qadri rejects talks with government

Opposition parties distance themselves from Imran Khan's call for mass civil disobedience


Web Desk August 16, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri have called for the government to resign, vowing to continue their ‘long marches’ in the capital till their demands are met.

PTI chief Imran Khan warned that his ‘tsunami’ could cross into the Red Zone and in front of Parliament and the PM House, if his demands are not met on time.

On the other hand, PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri presented a list of 15 demands, calling for the federal and provincial assemblies to resign and for the Sharifs to be arrested. He gave the government 48 hours to implement his demands.

Both parties have set up stage at the edge of the Red Zone near Aabpara Market and Aabpara Chowk respectively.

The government, which is facing arguably its toughest challenge since it came into power 15 months ago, is bracing in the capital’s Red Zone, which remains blocked off with shipping containers.

You can see our previous coverage on the 'Azadi' march and the 'Inqilab' march here.

All previous stories relating to Qadri can be found here, and all previous stories related to the Azadi march can be found here. 

Our former Executive Editor M Ziauddin joined us for these live updates to provide some insight on the situation as it unfolds.

Ziauddin sb needs no introduction – you can read all about him here.

You can read the entire transcript of reader questions and his responses here.

Readers sent their questions through Twitter (@etribune) by adding the hashtag #AskTribune, and through the comments section of our live updates with the same hashtag. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this interactive session do not necessarily reflect the views of The Express Tribune.

 

For coverage of the Islamabad sit-ins August 18 onwards, go here.




August 17, 11:57pm

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Qamar Zaman Kaira, while speaking to Express News, said that PTI chief Imran Khan’s step to call for civil disobedience will have consequences.

Kaira termed the government’s step to form two committees to negotiate with both PTI and PAT, "a good step", however, he added, "it has been done late. The government has been taking delayed steps.”

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August 17, 11:10pm

“I am amazed at who advised Imran on civil disobedience,” Nisar says, adding, “Civil disobedience is not directed against the government, it is against the state.”

“He (Imran) has even made this a part of PTI’s policy,” the interior minister says.

Read here for the full story.

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August 17, 11:02pm

"The committees, which will be announced tomorrow, will comprise leaders of all leading political parties and will get to work immediately," Nisar says in his press conference.

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August 17, 11:00pm

Further, the interior minister adds, “The government has decided, that as a goodwill gesture it (PML-N) will constitute two separate committees to negotiate with PTI and PAT.”

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August 17, 10:57pm

"I request Imran Khan not to make the nation suffer in misery, do not sacrifice the lives of people at the alter of politics," Nisar says.

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August 17, 10:55pm

The interior minister, in a press conference refers to PTI chief Imran Khan and says, "We are willing to listen to every constitutional demand of yours."



Express News screengrab of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar during a press conference.

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August 17, 6:12pm

Q: Sarah Farukh @sarahfarukh Imran Khan is surrounded by seasoned politicians. Don’t you think there is a plan B?

MZ: Who are these seasoned politicians? Javed Hashmi never graduated from the rank of a political worker at best a second fiddle. Shah Mehmood basically an educated spiritual leader. He gets a ranking place in a political party because of the captive votes of his followers, not because of his political acumen. We all know the careers of Shireen Mazari, Shafqat Mehmood and Jehangir Tareen. So who among them has the political wisdom to draft a plan B. 

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August 17, 6:08pm

Concluding his address, Qadri reiterates that they will not leave from here without bringing a revolution.

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August 17, 6:04pm

Appreciating the efforts of the Pakistan Army, Qadri clarifies that he would be the first person to oppose the imposition of martial law.

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August 17, 5:50pm

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has left Raiwind for Islamabad, Express News reports.

It is expected that the premier will meet with Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq and Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Shah.

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August 17, 5:46pm

Here is some insight from former Executive Editor M Ziauddin on the latest development of PTI supporters moving towards Islamabad’s Red Zone: 

MZ: More of confusion about move towards Red Zone. I believe Imran Khan will bring the protesters back and claim he can send them back again by way of a threat. 

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August 17, 5:40pm

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif reaches Islamabad from Raiwind, Express News reports.

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August 17, 5:46pm

Here is some insight from former Executive Editor M Ziauddin on the latest development of PTI supporters moving towards Islamabad’s Red Zone: 
MZ: More of confusion about move towards Red Zone. I believe Imran Khan will bring the protesters back and claim he can send them back again by way of a threat. 

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August 17, 5:28pm

Q: Nabeel Huda @MNabeelHuda Ziauddin Sahab Please give the Unbiased & factual strength of Both #AzadiMarchPTI #InqilabMarchWithDrQadri TY

MZ: How many thousands can you gather between the ISI headquarters and Aabpara market (PAT) and Serena Chowk (PTI)? Not more than 40 to 50 thousand maximum each. 

Q: Mirza Underwood @Afaq_Sharif What’s the future of #ppp in future politics?

MZ: Not very good. The biggest enemy of the PPP is the party itself. And it is the biggest enemy of Sindh as well. 

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August 17, 5:26pm

"Tonight, only 24 hours will be left to our deadline," Qadri says, reading out his 10-point agenda.

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August 17, 5:22pm

With PTI’s Azadi march moving towards the Red Zone, here is another look at the logistical overview of the Red Zone and the planned site of the protests.



ANIMATION: EXPRESS CREATIVE

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August 17, 5:15pm

“We will not let this corrupt, violent government rule,” the PAT chief says while the crowds chant “Go Nawaz go.”

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August 17, 5:05pm

Waving a copy of the Constitution of Pakistan up, Qadri says that his ‘Inqilab’ march is about sticking to Quaid-e-Azam’s commitments.

 

Express News screengrab of the PAT chief holding up a copy of the Constitution of Pakistan during his address to his workers. 

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August 17, 5:00pm

PTI workers are trying to remove the last containers blocking the Red Zone as policemen on alert can be seen banging their sticks on their shields.

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August 17, 4:55pm

Qadri says that a deadline has been given and the "so-called prime minister has left for Raiwind", adding that maybe PM Nawaz wants to run the country in his final week from his home.

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August 17, 4:48pm

As PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri takes the stage to address his rally, PTI's 'Azadi' march head towards the Red Zone.

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August 17, 4:35pm

Q: Syed Sohaib @_soota Zia sahb you said Imran will back down. How can u say with surety? Any past experience of such backing out of demands?

MZ: Cricket is by chance, politics is an art of possibilities. He is playing politics by the rules of cricket. 

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August 17, 4:20pm

Q: Asim Khan @sirasimkhan Do you think PTI has lost its good position or still it has time? Will the 6pm speech bring PTI back to its position?
MZ: I expect this speech to be more strident and full of ultimatums. But position would remain where he has already left it last night. 

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August 17, 4:08pm

Q: @TalhaDX There are talks that CM Shahbaz Sharif will resign. Do you think it is happening today?

MZ: I doubt it very much.

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August 17, 4:02pm

Talking to Express News, Minister for Information Pervaiz Rasheed says that PML-N is ready for talks and they are in contact with Qadri and Imran through back door channels.

Rasheed adds that to talk openly they are having consultative meetings.

"We are looking for the right people to negotiate with Imran Khan."

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August 17, 4:00pm

Q: Sarah Farukh @sarahfarukh @etribune so is there any face saving for PTI in this? 

MZ: I don’t see one as of now unless IK is able to sell to his supporters a defeat as a victory.

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August 17, 3:55pm

Q: Saadi @midaasm Are the demands of PTI justified? Will Ch Nisar resign? Is NS trial of treason against Musharaf wrong? Is martial law possible?

MZ: Unjustified demands. Nisar will not resign.

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August 17, 3:52pm

Q: @kayfarooq Sir, do you see violence next?

MZ: I don’t see any violence, next. 

Q: @ihtshams so will IK back down? 

MZ: IK will back down. 

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August 17, 3:50pm

Tribune: Welcome Ziauddin sb. The first Q from our reader  @etribune: What do you make of the current situation? Where do you think PTI is heading with this today?

MZ: PTI has painted itself into a tight corner with the demand that PM resign. This is not going to happen unless a vote of confidence is moved on the NA or the army intervenes. Both not possible. 

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Given all the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the current political situation, we have invited our former Executive Editor M Ziauddin to join us for these live updates.

Ziauddin sb needs no introduction – you can read all about him here.

He will be taking reader questions and commenting on the situation as it unfolds to provide his valuable analysis of the situation.

Readers can send their questions through Twitter (@etribune) by adding the hashtag #AskTribune, or through the comments section of our live updates with the same hashtag. His answers will appear in the live updates. 

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August 17, 3:20pm

According to sources, the consultative meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Lahore today has decided to form a core group for consultation on the current political crisis.

The core group will include representation from all political parties.

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August 17, 3:15pm

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar has deployed 10,000 more security forces in Islamabad, Express News reports.

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August 17, 3:12pm

Addressing PAT participants, Haider Abbas Rizvi says that efforts of MQM chief Altaf Hussain have brought political temperatures down.

“Stake holders should refrain from provactive statements,” he adds.

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August 17, 3:10pm

PTI MNA Dr arif Alvi says that PTI chairman Imran Khan will announce his charter of demands at 6pm today.

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August 17, 2:58pm

An MQM delegation led by Haider Abbas Rizvi arrives at Khayaban-e-Suharwardy to meet PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri.

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August 17, 2:30pm

Governor Sindh Dr Ishrtaul Ebad calls Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, Governor Punjab Chaudhry Sarwar and Federal Minister for Railways Saad Rafique to discuss the current political situtaion, Express News reports.

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August 17, 2:06pm

Addressing a joint press conference with Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Shah, JI chief Sirajul Haq says that he will not let "democracy derail".

"I will go to Islamabad tomorrow and talk to the politicians, we will not allow the abrogation of our constitution," he says.

Further, Shah says that if the Parliament keeps functioning they will be able to resolve issues.

“Imran Khan assured us that he will remain peaceful,” says Shah.

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August 17, 1:34pm

Pervez Elahi has reached Aabpara Chowk to meet with Dr Tahirul Qadri.



August 16, 10:00pm

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar warned on Saturday evening that intelligence reports indicated suicide bombers had entered the capital where the PTI and the PAT were holding protest rallies, Radio Pakistan reported.

Read here for the full story.

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August 16, 9:32pm

Taking the stage for the third time, Imran urges the nation to step out and join them as they make history.

“PTI will fulfil Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal’s vision for this nation.”

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August 16, 9:28pm

Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq has said that the government should start negotiations with PTI, PAT, The Express Tribunecorrespondent Azam Khan reports.

Siraj went on to add that the Punjab governor had assured him that the army would not intervene in the current political crisis.

Further, he added that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had invited him to come to Islamabad but he urged the interior minister to avoid any delay in negotiations. He said he would be able to leave for Islamabad tomorrow (Sunday).

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August 16, 9:22pm

A PPP committee led by Rehman Malik will meet Chaudhry Shujaat at his residence at 10pm, sources told The Express Tribune correspondent Irfan Ghauri. “It will be the first formal and public initiative since the marches reached Islamabad,” the source added.

The government is using two separate channels to negotiate with PAT chief Tahirul Qadri and PTI chief Imran Khan.

The Chaudhrys are being used by the government to pacify Qadri, while Jamaat-e-Islami is being used to negotiate with Imran Khan.

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August 16, 9:14pm

 

PTI supporters sitting on top of the Aabpara signboard. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID/EXPRESS

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August 16, 9:08pm

“Chaudhry Nisar, Pervaiz Khattak and I are asking you to leave the monarchy and join PTI,” says Imran before taking a seat again.

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August 16, 9:06pm

“Nisar, I have so far kept this crowd’s ‘junoon’ in control, but won’t be able to for long,” says Imran.

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August 16, 9:05pm

“When you see oppression and injustice, it is incumbent on each one of you to act and stop it,” says Imran.

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August 16, 9:00pm

Addressing Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, Imran says that the time has come to decide if he wants to be a slave or he wants to make a ‘naya’ Pakistan.

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August 16, 8:58pm

The PTI chief says that this sit-in has a time limit, adding “This ‘tsunami’ can go through the Red Zone, around Parliament House and into the PM House.”

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August 16, 8:56pm

Imran takes the stage again and warns that this ‘tsunami’ can turn towards Parliament as well.

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August 16, 8:31pm

AML leader Shiekh Rasheed claims that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has damaged Pakistan’s economy.

 

Express News screengrab of Sheikh Rasheed.

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August 16, 8:08pm

Imran Khan momentarily returns to the mic to tell his supporters to remain peaceful

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August 16, 8:05pm

Imran says, “We have no cost, we are here to stay. Nawaz Sharif, we won’t spare you till you resign.”

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August 16, 8:01pm

“Where does the electricity disappear?” he asks rhetorically, adding, “You see, the most amount of money is made from electricity theft.”

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August 16, 7:58pm

“Prime Minister Imran Khan will never lie to you,” says Imran.

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August 16, 7:57pm

Never elect a businessman to run a country, says Imran, in reference to the prime minister.

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August 16, 7:52pm

“I didn’t get a chance to go to Balochistan and Sindh, because I needed to win the match in Punjab first,” Imran says to his supporters.

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August 16, 7:51pm

The PTI chief refers to  Nawaz as “Mughal-e-Azam Sahib”.

He tells his supporters that Nawaz’s future appears bleak, as the alleged rigging that took place in the general elections will be proven.

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August 16, 7:49pm

“The first wicket has fallen, as an FIR is being registered against Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif,” he says.

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August 16, 7:48pm

“We will celebrate freedom all night,” Imran says.

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August 16, 7:45pm

“I will sleep and wake up, on this stage. I am here to stay,” he says to hius supporters.

He adds, “you can go home and come back, and I will still be here.”

 

 

August 16, 7:44pm

PTI chief Imran Khan begins his address saying that he has heard rumours that he has fallen ill.

Clarifying this, he says that he went back home last night for the sake of his workers.

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August 16, 7:36pm

Imran Khan is on the podium, getting ready to address his supporters.

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August 16, 7:33pm

Former band member of Junoon Salman Ahmad takes the stage, says all promises made by Imran Khan will be fulfilled before singing,  ’Allah ho‘.

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August 16, 7:30pm

Imran is flanked by senior PTI leaders Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Javed Hashmi and Shafqat Mahmood.

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 August 16, 7:26pm

The PTI chief is making his way to the stage.

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August 16, 7:15pm

“We are not going to head back to Bani Gala or Zaman Park until the prime minister resigns,” says PTI chief Imran Khan while talking to Express News.

The PTI chief has reached Serena Chowk.

 

August 16, 6:42pm

The PAT chief further adds that the problems of 200 million people cannot be solved by recounting polls in a couple of constituencies.

 

Muhammad Tahirul Qadri leader of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), gestures while addressing his supporters during the ‘Inqilab’ March in Islamabad August 16, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS

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August 16, 6:40pm

“Mid-term elections are not the solution for the poor,” he says, adding that he doesn’t want them because the same people will come in power.

“Tonight, I will announce the time frame for the revolution,” says Qadri.

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 August 16, 6:34pm

 

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August 16, 6:28pm

“The revolution cannot come through the Parliament, because the whole election process is invalid and unconstitutional,” he says.

Some supporters of Qadri and Imran Khan running for shelter as rain starts pouring once again in the capital, our correspondent Qamar Zaman reports.

Further, he reports that leaders of both rallies, which are being held parallel to each other, are being addressed by their leaders right now with the some at the tail of these sit-ins complaining that they cannot hear the speeches properly

 

August 16, 6:25pm

“I am a staunch believer of democracy, it signifies and eradicates all kinds of corruption ” says Qadri.

Questioning if this (PML-N government) is democracy, he says “people are homeless and are unable to educate their children.”

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August 16, 6:23pm

Qadri demands the de-politicisation of state institutions.

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August 16, 6:20pm

Qadri says he won’t allow the dichotomy of a different law for the poor and rich to exist anymore.

 

August 16, 6:19pm

“The national government will not allow any corrupt person to be a public officer,” he says.

Qadri further adds that he wants every person to be eligible for a loan.

 

August 16, 6:16pm

Qadri says, “We want a system of devolution in which the issues of the poor are settled by their union councils.”

 

August 16, 6:15pm

“The government has not conducted local bodies elections,” says the Canada-based cleric.

 

August 16, 6:11pm

The PAT chief says that, “Hazaras should form a separate province, and Gilgit-Baltistan and south Punjab should each be made into a separate province.”

 

August 16, 6:09pm

Qadri says that sectarianism should be eliminated, adding that the rights of minorities should be protected.

“No one will be allowed to raise a hand on any minority, and if they do, their hands will be chopped off,” he says.

 

August 16, 6:07pm

The national government should decrease the prices of gas and electricity, Qadri says.

Further, he adds that women should be employed through home-industry programmes.

 

August 16, 6:03pm

“Every person should get roti (bread), kapra (clothes) and rozgari (employment),” Qadri says.

“There should be free compulsory education for everyone, as well as  medical treatment for the less fortunate,” the PAT chief adds.

 

August 16, 6:01pm

“The national government should take a step for the accountability of corrupt political leaders, technocrats and bureaucrats,” says Qadri.

He adds, “The national government should make a 10-point socio-economic package to eliminate poverty.”

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August 16, 5:59pm

He goes on to say, “According to Articles 62 and 63, no bank defaulter, tax evader can be made MPA or MNA. However, almost 6%0 to 70% of the assembly constitutes of people who are involved in corruption.”

“A national government should be formed for democratic reforms,” he says.

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August 16, 5:57pm

Parliament and provincial assemblies should be dissolved, he says, adding that the cabinet should be dismissed.

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August 16, 5:55pm

Qadri begins to announce his charter of demands.

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August 16, 5:51pm

“I forgive Islamabad’s Gullu Butt,” Qadri says.

 

Express News screengrab of Qadri and the “Islamabad Gull Butt” seen carrying a gun. 

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August 16, 5:46pm

An unidentified man, who is allegedly armed, is being dragged by PAT supporters on to the stage.

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August 16, 5:44pm

“I will not leave until the Sharif brothers are arrested,” a fiesty Qadri says.

 

Express News screengrab of Tahirul Qadri.

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August 16, 5:43pm

“Nawaz has no right to remain as the PM after the Lahore session courts’ decision to register a case against him and 21 of his government members in the Model Town clashes,” Qadri says.

He also says their names should be placed in the ECL.

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August 16, 5:40pm

“Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif must step down,” says the PTI chief.

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August 16, 5:38pm

“The 14 innocent people killed during the clashes in Model Town on June 17 are asking me, if I, and millions of these participants will betray their blood,” he says showing a poster of two women who were killed.

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August 16, 5:36pm

“I’ll explain our charter of reforms and demands in Urdu and English, both,” the PAT chief says.

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August 16, 5:35pm

The PAT chief requests shop owners and restaurant owners of Aabpara Market, Melody, Khayaban-e-Suharwardy to open their markets and restaurants so that people can get food and essential supplies.

“I guarantee that no supporter will cause any kind of loss,” he says.

Urging shop owners not to raise their prices, he says his supporters have gathered here for a revolution.

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August 16, 5:34pm

“There is no terrorist, thug or criminal in the ‘Inqilab’ march,” Qadri says.

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August 16, 5:31pm

The PAT chief went on to say that, “It is the responsibility of the police to register these cases, or they should prepare for the consequences.”

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August 16, 5:29pm

“I have heard that additional session judge Lahore has ordered that cases be registered against PM Nawaz and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif  for the Model Town clashes,” says Qadri.

“Before my address even began, a court has ordered the registration of a murder case against Nawaz and Shahbaz,” says Qadri, as the crowd breaks in to cheers.

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August 16, 5:25pm

Qadri is at the rally and will begin his address soon, according to Express News.

 

Express News screengrab of PAT chief Tahirul Qadri about to get on stage to address his supporters.

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August 16, 5:02pm

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak has left Islamabad for Peshawar, Express News reports.

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August 16, 4:50pm

PML-Q senior leader Chaudhry Pervez Elahi has arrived at the PAT rally, according to Express News.

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August 16, 4:36pm

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August 16, 4:21pm

The interior minister will hold a press conference at 6pm.

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August 16, 4:11pm

Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq accepts Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar’s request to fly to the federal capital ahead of the sit-ins.

According to Express News, Nisar had said that he would send a special plane to bring the JI chief to Islamabad, to which Haq said that he would consult with his party before making a decision.

Earlier, Haq was tasked with the responsibility of bringing PTI to the negotiating table. Further, on August 15, Haq gave his four-point agenda asking the government to form a negotiating committee immediately.

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August 16, 3:58pm

 

Supporters of Tahirul Qadri gather during a protest rally in Islamabad. PHOTO: AFP

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August 16, 3:33pm

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan visits the venue of PAT’s sit-in and praises security officials for their services, according to Express News.

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August 16, 3:31pm

PTI Central Information Secretary Shireen Mazari, while speaking to Express News, says party leadership and the PTI chief will spend the night with his supporters.

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August 16, 3:29pm

JI Ameer Sirajul Haq condemns the incident in Gujranwala, referring to the attack on Imran Khan’s convoy yesterday.

He says that the PAT chief’s 10-point agenda is positive and there is nothing unconstitutional about it.

Haq says JI has set up medical camps for PTI as well as PAT workers, and is making arrangements for food for them as well.

He adds that electoral reforms are the demand of all political parties.

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August 16, 3:27pm

Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar, while speaking to reporters, says things get resolved when political forces talk to each other.

He adds that Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has played a positive role in defusing the prevailing political situation in the country.

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August 16, 2:53pm

Qadri briefly spoke to his workers and supporters, thanking them for being a part of the ‘Inqilab’ rally and urging them to remain peaceful.

He said he will present his charter of demands and reforms when he formally addresses his supporters at 4pm.

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August 16, 2:44pm

Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) supporters are slowly streaming in, eager to hear their party chief address the rally. Hundreds of buses can be seen over a stretch, and are packed on Khayaban-e-Suharwardy in the capital.

 

PAT supporters reassemble at Aabpara, Islamabad. PHOTO: HUMA CHOUDHARY

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COMMENTS (158)

Rojer | 6 years ago | Reply

IK lost it completely and has no idea what he is doing.

sabi | 6 years ago | Reply

Bye bye revolutionaries it's hard to know whether you have disappointed your masters or they have disappointed you but one thing is sure people of Pakistan have not disappointed for giving zero response to your silly ideology. Congrats democrat Pakistan.

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