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In this Jan 9, 2013, photo, Tahirul Qadri speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Lahore. — Photo by AP

ISLAMABAD, Jan 11: While the Tehrik-i-Minhajul Quran (TMQ) has decided against seeking a no objection certificate (NOC) for its Monday’s long march to Islamabad, the government seems to be determined to thwart the plan by banning the entry of marchers into the city.

Extraordinary security measures are being taken in the federal capital for what the government calls ‘protection of people’. As many as 5,000 personnel of the Frontier Constabulary (FC) and 2,000 of Punjab police reached here on Friday, raising the number of law-enforcers being deployed for the event to about 20,000.

Because of the deadlock, a clash between supporters of TMQ chief Dr Tahirul Qadri and security forces cannot be ruled out during the march.

A meeting held at the interior ministry on Friday decided that participants of the rally would be stopped from entering Islamabad because no permission had been given by the administration.

“Since it is obvious that the government will not issue the NOC, we have decided to stage the march without obtaining it,” TMQ’s Islamabad chapter president Ibrar Raza told Dawn.

He said a TMQ team was invited for talks to the deputy commissioner’s office on Friday, but they rejected the invitation due to the government’s “negative” response to the long march plan.

The TMQ leader said three petitions had been filed against the proposed march in superior courts, but all of them had been rejected. “This is a clear massage from the courts that staging long march is a basic right of TMQ. Now we do not need any NOC,” he said.

Mr Raza said a rally of his party workers and supporters would enter Islamabad on Jan 14 at any cost and warned that the government would be responsible for consequences if any attempt was made to stop the rally.

On the other hand, a senior official of the administration said none of the superior courts had ordered them to lift section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code under which no public meeting could be held or procession taken out in the city without special permission.

He said the TMQ had another day on Saturday to get an NOC and if it failed to do so, its rally would be stopped at Islamabad’s entry points.

The official said a decision to thwart the march by the use of force had been taken at the meeting in the interior ministry, which was presided over by an additional secretary.

He said 5,000 personnel of FC, 2,000 of Punjab police and 2,000 Rangers had reached Islamabad to help more than 10,000 police personnel to maintain peace. “More policemen from Punjab will come to Islamabad in 24 hours.”

The Supreme Court on Friday did not take any decision on a petition against the proposed march filed on Tuesday. The petitioner Asad Mahmood argued before the court that the march could create chaos in the country and sought an order to bar the TMQ from staging it.

If Dr Qadri had any reservation over the existing democratic system, he should adopt a constitutional way to record his protest, he said.

MQM DECISION PRAISED: Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has welcomed the MQM decision of not joining the march. He said in a statement that MQM Chief Altaf Hussain had made the decision in the larger interest of the country.

Mr Malik urged Dr Qadri to call off the march, saying human lives were more precious. “I believe that Dr Qadri will positively respond to the request in the larger interest of the country.”

Comments (10) Closed

naviwala Jan 12, 2013 05:25am
AS long as peaceful procession would march into Islamabad, no one should legally stop the demonstration. Burden of any casualty would be counted against present PPP and its partner in government.
Michael Malcolm Jan 12, 2013 06:10am
Dr. Qadri is doing exactly what late Khoemeni did raising the voice of the people who are fed up of worst civil corrupt and terror wielding martial law in the country by PPP. Its the latter who brought about this and Dr. Qadri is a blessing in disguise. Imran Khan has been raising the same issue since several years but the ruling party showed a deaf year. What a brave intellectual man of his words., In couple of weeks he has shaken the corrupt rulers single handidly. PPP rulers to save their faces and lives they have used all tactics to defame Dr. Qadri. With whom is Allah there is no fear in him and those who fear, are not.
Muhammad Farooq Jan 12, 2013 07:28am
Dialogue, Dialogue, Dialogue nothing but dialogue can ensure peace. President of Pakistan and PM should invite Dr Qadri for talks and try to find a common ground to initiate changes even if it means holding a referendum. Anyways, Dr Qadri is not absolutely wrong and there is a grain of truth in what he is saying. At the same time the country cannot afford more violence. There is no option but dialogue.
Nadeem Khan Jan 12, 2013 08:04am
MQM ignited the fire, now standing aside as bystanders - A party known for changing stance on every national issue.Protest is Qadri's right as long as his followers remain peaceful.
AA Jan 12, 2013 08:20am
Who is this person Tahir Ul Qadri? Just curious I heard he s Canadian Citizen if he is what is he doing in Pakistan. Why did he choose to be Canadian citizen at the begin with if he can not live in peace like many other Canadian. Or he could be another character getting attention and money ,,,Qadri sahib if you read it follow my advice get out of Pakistan
Dr. Wali Jan 12, 2013 08:41am
Yes, I agree with Michael Malcolm, this is pepoles voice, this is the time that "listen to the voice of people", otherwise the oppressed peoples rage will find its way, no one can stop the people once they decide to come out for their rights, all earthly mights will surender! Please read the writting on the Wall before it is "too late"!
Munir Shah Jan 12, 2013 09:08am
Muslim Jan 12, 2013 09:29am
A brave man, and a courageous act, he is the ideal Muslim and stands for the Truth. Whatever the outcome, at least we know there are heroes willing to stand against criminals and villains. Brave men like Dr. Qadri will inspire a whole generation of true Muslims. One day Pakistan's righteous will overpower the weak.
Masood Hussain Jan 12, 2013 01:34pm
Proper and legal way to resolve the issues raised by Quadri and his supporters was to move a resolution in the National Assembly as they have enough support there.But no they will not do this,they want to create chaos and become super revolutionaries.Pray Almighty give them wisdom and farsight.
Maheen Jan 12, 2013 09:32pm
I think you leave in imaginary world.