The activists of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistani Awami Tehrik (PAT) reached Islamabad late Friday to protest against alleged rigging in the 2013 general elections and to present their demands of electoral and administrative reform.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan spoke to a large gathering of supporters at 4AM, and said that he will not leave till PM Nawaz Sharif resigns. At the end of his speech, he invited supporters to reconvene at the same place at 3pm Saturday.
Dr Qadri delayed his address to supporters due to ill health.
The government which was initially reluctant to allow the marchers finally gave its nod on Thursday evening, formally permitting the supporters and activists of both parties to march on the capital but warning over crossing any red lines and telling the marchers to stay away from the capital's Red Zone area.
To see how the last 24 hours unfolded for the marchers and the government, follow our updates below
Qadri delays address to workers
DawnNews reported that PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri has delayed his address to supporters as a result of poor health.
Nawaz has only one option: Imran
“Under no circumstance will we accept this election. I am sitting here, Nawaz has one option. Resign and order a re-election,” said Imran Khan.
“We will sit here till 3pm.”
He also said he has not slept in 40 hours.
Imran Khan said PTI is the new Pakistan. “I will not move from here till this country is truly free,” he added.
Imran Khan speaks to the crowd gathered in Islamabad
You have made new history, Qureshi tells the march
Addressing the corwd, PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that he has never before witnessed such a large crowd or such passion.
The government thought that they would create panic in the march through a deadly attack against Imran Khan, but they failed, he said.
Ataullah Essa Khelvi sings to the crowd's delight
PTI supporters danced and sang along with singer Atullah Essa Khelvi who sang 'Banega Naya Pakistan'
Go Nawaz, go: Sheikh Rasheed
AML’s Sheikh Rasheed is at the podium, and chanting slogans of “Go Nawaz, Go!”
The crowd of PTI supporters is receptive, and echoing his slogans and chants.
The rain has not stopped in Islamabad.
PTI leadership set to address crowd
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and senior leaders, including Javed Hashmi, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Pervez Khattak are at the stage, where Imran Khan is expected to deliver a speech soon.
Spotted in his SUV: Imran Khan
—Screengrabs show Imran Khan in his car as he makes his way towards the mobile stage where he is expected to deliver his speech
PTI denies Imran meeting with Nisar
PTI media advisor Faisal Vawda denied that Imran Khan had met with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar at his F-8 residence, as reported by some news channels.
"Sheikh Rasheed is feeling disgruntled because he was not part of Imran’s convoy [from Lahore to Islamabad]," he said, referring to a report that Rasheed had confirmed a clandestine meeting.
Asad Umar, Shireen Mazari and Shafqat Mahmood reach Islamabad
PTI constructs mobile stage
— Photo shows stage being set up opposite Sports Complex, Islamabad
Zero Point is flooded with PTI and PAT workers, DawnNews reports. Caravans from Lahore have also arrived.
A mobile ‘stage’ has been erected opposite the Sports Complex in Islamabad, but Imran Khan is expected to speak at Serena Chowk.
Hundreds of thousands will be in Islamabad, says Tareen
PTI leader Jahangir Tareen said that people from all over Pakistan will be arriving in Islamabad, stating that hundreds of thousands of people will be at the federal capital.
'Islamabad will have so many people, the likes of which have never been seen before," he said.
The PTI leader further said people from Balochistan, KP and South Punjab are participating in the march.
Tareen said that because of the obstacles that have been put in place, along with the sheer number of people who have come out in support of the march, is the reason why the convoy has taken time to reach Islamabad.
Imran Khan may back down on resignation demand: sources
sSources within the party told Dawn Imran Khan may soften his demand for PM Nawaz's resignation and instead present a set of conditions that it expects the government to deliver as a course of action once he reaches the capital.
“We will present a set of conditions to them and if the government is sensible, they will deliver. If they meet nine out of 10 of these demands, we will accept it [instead of the resignation]. If they expect us to back off by meeting say one out of 10, we will not leave,” a party insider requesting anonymity told Dawn.
Another senior PTI official hinted at a "possible negotiation" with the government when Imran arrives in Islamabad.
Gullu Butt's new look?
Car-smashing PML-N activist Gullu Butt emerged with new look in court today - handcuffed and wearing a crisp white shalwar kameez suit with rosary beads in his hands.
Country's political scenario inspires more games
A screen shot of Flappy Nawaz and Flappy Imran
More games inspired by the country's political scenario were released. The latest titles 'Flappy Nawaz' and 'Flappy Imran' are based on the popular game' Flappy bird.' The games involve the lead characters (as mentioned in the titles) avoid their respective counterparts.
Those who attacked us knew they wouldn't be held accountable: Imran
PTI chief Imran Khan said that the people who attacked his convoy and supporters knew that they would not be held accountable for their actions.
He said that women and children were attacked in Gujranwala.
"When I reach Islamabad, I will tell you why people like Gullu Butt are nurtured," the PTI chief said.
"We will continue to fight against this Gullu Butt system," he said.
Peshawar residents irked at provincial government's absence
After a very heavy downpour a fallen tree is seen blocking a street at Stadium Road in Peshawar on Friday, August 15, 2014.— Photo by PPI
At least 16 people have been killed and more than 80 others injured in rain-related incidents and hailstorms in various parts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's capital city Peshawar as roofs and walls of building collapsed due to heavy rain.
Conspiracy to spread anarchy in country, says Shahbaz
He said that Pakistan cannot afford to endure anarchy and chaos right now. The PML-N leader also said that the 'Revolution March' has failed.
’Pomy Butt is from a good family’
Rana Mashood during a press conference said that Pomy Butt is from a “good family” in Gujranwala and was not responsible for the clash that took place between PTI and PML-N workers.
He also said that the provincial government has shown restraint and tolerance despite the use of provocative language by Dr Tahirul Qadri as well as the PTI leadership.
“The PTI leadership should use better language. Their workers even tore our banners and hoardings… but we will give them the freedom to march and the liberty to protest with no obstructions from on our. We have instructed police officials not to react even if they say something.”
Chaudhry Shujaat calls for national govt to be formed
The PML-Q leader also stressed that the proposed government must include the PML-N as well.
Sirajul Haq speaking to media in Lahore
Imran Khan leaves for Islamabad
Another march-inspired game released for smartphones
A screenshot of the ‘Long March’ game
The ‘march’ announced by the Pakistan Teheek-i-Insaf has inspired a number of mobile phone apps.
The latest app is called ‘Long March’, a 2-D platform game which has the PTI chairman Imran Khan as the lead character who dodges obstacles – including containers, chairs and policemen –while collecting ballot boxes on his journey, with the background showing key landmarks of Punjab.
Dr Tahirul Qadri speaking to media in Jhelum
Imran expected to reach capital by 9: PTI
— Photo of Imran Khan during 'Azadi rally in Lahore
PTI leaders speaking to Dawn said that Chairman Imran Khan is going to reach Islamabad between 8pm and 9pm.
After the Gujranwala skirmish that left some PTI workers injured, Imran left the ‘Azadi rally container and is now en route to the capital in another vehicle. “He will reach Islamabad and deliver his speech in about two or three hours,” they said.
JI chief makes recommendations for peace
Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq has made four recommendations to improve the political situation in the country.
The recommendations involve dialogue between parties marching against the government and the government itself.
Siraj has also suggested that there should be a negotiating committee comprising politicians to tackle the issue and that no incident such as the Gujranwala clash takes place again
The JI chief said his party hoped that the Azadi March will remain peaceful till the very end.
Speaking to media representatives, he said the people of Pakistan were concerned about the situation and how democracy would fare in the country in these circumstances.
He said he could guarantee that the march would not turn into an 'incident' but will the start of a much stronger political system.
US, UK and other countries issue travel advisory to citizens
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) supporters throw stones toward the supporters of ruling Pakistani Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) during protest march to Islamabad, in eastern city of Gujranwala in Punjab province on August 15, 2014.— Photo by AFP
The United States, the United Kingdom, some European countries and some countries from Asia-Pacific region have issued travel advisories to their citizens alerting them not to travel to Pakistan because of the prevailing security and political situation.
In addition, the government of these countries have also directed their diplomats to remain confined to their residences in Islamabad and not to move to any political event in Islamabad due to serious security threats to such gatherings.
"The diplomats have also been directed to move to Karachi to their respective consulate generals in case security situation in Islamabad became volatile," a diplomatic source told Dawn.
Saad Rafique denies PTI allegations over clash
Govt’s permission to hold ‘Azadi march’ averted confrontation, says Shah
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah said that the granting of permission to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Azadi march was a good step by the government which had averted danger.
The senior Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) said that in his view Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would not tender his resignation and added that his party could not support the demand for the premier’s resignation.
Shah also condemned the stone pelting on Imran Khan’s container and said that there should be no precedence of stone-pelting during political gatherings and rallies. He also demanded action against those found guilty of hurling stones.
Pomy Butt instigated clash between PTI, PML-N activists: Jahangir Tareen
Jahangir Khan Tareen of PTI accused Pomy Butt, a brother of PML-N MPA from Gujranwala Imran Khalid Butt, of inciting Imran Khan’s supporters to violence which led to the clash between PTI and PML-N activists in Gujranwala.
Addressing the press in Islamabad, he said that if Imran gets even as much as a scratch, we will blame Nawaz and Shahbaz and we will make the government pay heavily.
Tareen said we will stay peaceful even though our workers are currently pressuring us.
“We are trying to control our workers…our families are also marching with us.”
PML-N offices on march route instructed to close down: Rana Sanaullah
PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah. — File photo
All PML-N offices lying in the route of the march have been instructed to close down, PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah said.
The party offices are being closed following a clash between PTI and PML-N activists in Gujranwala today.
Sanaullah said activists from both sides had chanted slogans against each other and enraged supporters had subsequently resorted to stone pelting but no weapons were used.
Latest visuals of the Gujranwala clash
Imran, on the Gujranwala clash
Imran leaves container, off to Islamabad in another vehicle
Imran Khan has left the container and is en route to Islamabad in another vehicle, PTI sources said.
Before departing for Islamabad, Imran directed all his party workers and supporters to reach Islamabad.
"Get to Islamabad...let's talk there, after 6'o'clock," the PTI chief said in the message.
— Reported by Shahrukh Bukhari
Qadri condemns 'firing' on Imran's convoy
I condemn firing on Imran Khan’s convoy of motorbikes, cars, buses and trucks . Such moves are unacceptable #InqilabMarchWithDrQadri— Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri (@TahirulQadri) August 15, 2014
Moreover, a spokesman for Qadri told AFP that the PAT’s convoy was further along the road to Islamabad than PTI's, in the town of Jhelum, some 120 kilometres south of Islamabad.
“Our convoy is moving at a very slow pace and we expect our arrival in Islamabad very late tonight,” he said.
Gujranwala clash: from atop Imran's container
AFP photographer heard no gunfire on PTI convoy
Police told AFP that there were no shots and an AFP photographer at the scene also heard no gunfire.
“Workers of PTI and PML-N clashed in Gujranwala and threw stones at each other,” a police spokeswoman told AFP.
“There was no firing incident.”
The AFP photographer said a group of up to 40 youths who were following the convoy and shouting slogans clashed with workers from Imran Khan’s party before being dispersed by the police.
Azadi march a failure: Rana Mashood
Punjab Law Minister Rana Mashood has said that PTI’s march had turned out to be a flop and a failure, causing its workers to act in a confused manner.
In a statement issued from Lahore, Mashood said it was PTI workers who attacked the office of PML-N in Gujranwala, adding that the situation deteriorated with the attack and then retaliation from PML-N activists.
He advised PML-N workers to stay out of the way of PTI activists, adding that Imran should also throw some sense into his supporters.
Imran rally reaches Waziriabad: Shireen Mazari
Speaking to a private TV channel, PTI leader Shireen Mazari says the main convoy has now reached Wazirabad, just outside of Gujranwala. She also claimed that police had not stopped the PML-N workers during clashes with PTI supporters.
Saad Rafique says PTI workers must take blame for Gujranwala clash
Saad Rafique said the clash in Gujranwala occurred after PTI activists threw stones at and tore posters of Nawaz Sharif.
Our activists merely reacted in a similar manner but thankfully police came and controlled the situation.
Speaking to DawnNews via telephone, Rafique said the chief minister has ordered the IG to double Imran’s security.
Responding to a question, he said PML-N workers haven’t lost their minds that they would pelt stones at PTI activists without being provoked.
“We gave them passage and security…why would we want to attack them,” the minister said.
The PML-N leader said that PTI leaders should convince their workers not to tear flags of other parties.
We have now told our workers to stay away from the areas so that they don’t have to experience provocation on behalf of PTI workers.
The clash was a local problem but PTI blew it out of proportion.
View of the clash
Clashes under scrutiny
Repairing my car window with plastic which got smashed due 2stoning by Gundaas. We r peaceful & will not retaliate. pic.twitter.com/Td1sD8jqXF— Khurrum SherZaman (@KhurrumZamanPTI) August 15, 2014
PTI: Imran Khan asked his supporters to remain peaceful otherwise he said if a martial law was imposed in the country the PTI would be blamed for it.
PML-N: Federal Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir has said that action would be taken against those involved in the Gujranwala clash. He sought CCTV footage of the incident.
MQM: Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Huusain expressed concern over the clash between PML-N and PTI supporters in Gujranwala and asked all parties to remain peaceful for the protection of human lives. He also asked every one to respect each other's political, constitutional and legal rights.
Suspicious vehicles may enter Islamabad: Peshawar’s Special Branch
Peshawar’s Special Branch has informed Islamabad police of the possibility of two suspicious vehicles entering the federal capital under the guise of PTI rally participants.
Islamabad police has further tightened security arrangements as a result. — Reported by Shakeel Qarar
CM Shahbaz takes notice of clash
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has taken notice of the clashes in Gujranwala, appealing to PML-N supporters to remain peaceful.
PTI supporters duck for cover after coming under attack in Gujranwala pic.twitter.com/I7gOQGtXEe— omar r quraishi (@omar_quraishi) August 15, 2014
Meanwhile, DawnNews reports that the windows of Imran Khan's container have been smashed.
AML's Sheikh Rasheed came on TV and claimed that the petrol in Imran's container has been siphoned off.
Shots fired at PTI chief’s container, Imran not injured: Aneela Khan
Imran Khan's spokeswoman Aneela Khan said the PTI chief was not injured but his vehicle was hit by gun shots.
The convoy was also attacked in Gujranwala by a stone-throwing mob and police did not intervene, she said.
Television pictures showed local people tearing up posters featuring Imran’s party and clashing with his supporters. — Reuters
Imran says PML-N workers were standing above police van and pelting stones at PTI activists
Speaking to DawnNews via telephone, the PTI chief said PML-N activists who were standing above a police van were pelting stones at his supporters.
He urged PTI workers to remain peaceful and said he was reaching Islamabad and Nawaz should ready his resignation.
He lamented that PML-N called itself a democratic party while its activists behaved in a violent manner.
Imran said PML-N workers pelted stoned at PTI activists on at least two separate occasions during the march.
He added that Sheikh Rasheed himself saw people shooting at the container in which he was travelling.
Violence breaks out
Imran Khan's container being fired at: Sheikh Rasheed
Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has said that Imran Khan's container is being fired at in Gujranwala.
Speaking to DawnNews via telephone, Rasheed said the container was being fired at for the past 30 minutes.
Rasheed said he was in the container along with the PTI chief and Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
PTI, PML-N workers clash in Gujranwala
Activists from the PTI and PML-N were slightly injured during a clash between the two in Gujranwala.
The clash began when PTI activists were passing through an area where an office of the PML-N was located.
PTI workers injured by stonning by PMLN pic.twitter.com/oEk70WbRfJ— PTI (@PTIofficial) August 15, 2014
PML-N activists started pelting stones at PTI activists who retaliated in a similar manner.
However, the clash was controlled after police personnel deputed to provide security to the PTI’s caravan intervened and managed the situation. — Reported by Kashif Hussain
PTI's march biggest in Pakistan's history: Shireen Mazari
PTI leader Shireen Mazari has called the PTI's march the biggest in Pakistan's history, adding that it had rejected the current rulers of the country.
She said hundreds of thousands had joined the march from Nawaz Sharif's constituency, saying it was a testament that the people did not approve of the PML-N's rule.
Mazari said the job of Punjab Law Minister Rana Mashood was now in danger and said the rulers had no excuse left to remain in power. — Reported by Shahrukh Bukhari
No chance of minus one formula: Siddiul Farooq
PML-N leader Siddiqul Farooq has said that there was no chance of a minus one formula in the ongoing political crisis.
Speaking during a program in DawnNews TV, Farooq said the PTI's demand for Nawaz Sharif's resignation was unconstitutional.
Farooq added that it was unfair of opposition groups to expect the PML-N to revamp the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) at the current stage and suspend the existing members.
Ahsan Iqbal’s advice to Imran Khan
IK needs to now grow beyond agitation and fund rising campaigns if he wants to deliver in politics.— Ahsan Iqbal (@betterpakistan) August 15, 2014
No question of PM’s resignation, says Shahbaz
Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif has said that there was no question of a resignation from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
He further said that Imran Khan's demand for the formation of a government of technocrats was unconstitutional.
He added that the government would counter and defeat the conspiracy that is under way to destabilise the country.
Shahbaz moreover said that the collusion between PTI and PAT had exposed the so-called movement for a free and fair election and reformation of the system.
The chief minister said it was quite apparent that the people of Pakistan had rejected this march and were standing by their elected representatives.
Nawaz and his supporters should come out of Gullu Butt mindset: Imran
One million people will reach Islamabad, Imran Khan said, adding that Nawaz Sharif and his supporters should come out of what he called the Gullu Butt mindset.
Speaking to reporters in Gujranwala, the PTI chief said the end of monarchy was around the corner.
He said Nawaz should now understand that the people of Pakistan do not accept the results of this election.
“I have all the proof and I have also provided enough evidence…I will provide more in Islamabad this evening,” the PTI chief said.
“The Constitution says that a government that has come to power through rigging was not constitutional,” he said.
Imran demanded that those who were involved in the alleged rigging should be punished as without that there could be no free and fair election in the country.
PTI supporters at Zero Point hurl stones at containers, do a little dance
PTI supporters at Islamabad’s Zero Point have settled on the roads with their belongings.
They were seen to be hurling stones at containers and cranes placed by the Islamabad administration.
A number of PTI workers and supporters were also dancing to the music playing at the site.
Imran Khan’s convoy which is currently in Gujranwala is expected to reach Islamabad in three to four hours approximately. — Reported by Raza Bangash
We have received reports of a threat to our convoy: Qadri
Addressing his supporters in Kharian, PAT chief Tahirul Qadri said his party had received reports of a possible attack on their convoy after which they changed their strategy.
He said the attack on his convoy would be from what he called “Gullu Butts and terrorists” hired by the government.
I urge everyone to be vigilant, PAT workers in the inqilab march as well as the PTI workers in the Azadi march. #InqilabMarchWithDrQadri— Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri (@TahirulQadri) August 14, 2014
Gov have hired many 'Gullu Butt's and terrorists to try to attack our caravan on the way to Islamabad #InqilabMarchWithDrQadri— Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri (@TahirulQadri) August 14, 2014
I have told my supporters to stop at any location in case of a threat, Qadri said, adding that PAT activists and supporters were advancing towards Islamabad in a peaceful manner.
Qadri was addressing his supporters as his party’s caravan reached the city of Kharian in Punjab’s Gujrat district. — Reported by Nadeem Haider
We will get rid of the corrupt system: Imran Khan
Addressing his supporters as the PTI's caravan reached Gujranwala, party chief Imran Khan said he was assuring the people of Pakistan that they will get rid of the present corrupt system.
“There will be a need to speak the truth in ‘Naya Pakistan’ where justice will be served to all,” he told the crowd.
“I am going to Islamabad and I will ensure that all of us are free,” he said, adding that freedom was never “served in a platter” to anyone and that it required people to render sacrifices.
Imran’s statements came as the PTI’s convoy that began travelling from Lahore on Thursday reached the city of Gujranwala on Friday. The caravan received a warm welcome from thousands of the party’s supporters.