Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan has said he will continue to lead protests in Islamabad along with thousands of his supporters until Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif steps down.
Will Imran and his party manage to shake the government enough to consider some of their demands? Will the government send its emissaries to Imran? Or is PTI looking to reject dialogue with the government altogether?
How will Tahirul Qadri and activists of his Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) approach the situation?
Follow our updates on the ongoing political fix and read on Friday's political happens here.
Imran Khan promises Sunday will be “final round”
Imran Khan addresses the crowd.— AFP photo
Imran Khan tells his supporters that Sunday will be a very significant day in the history of Pakistan.
He asked participants of the sit-in to gear-up for the “final round”.
Imran said nothing less than the resignation of the premier of the country would be acceptable.
Qadri announces 48 hour deadline
PAT chief Tahirul Qadri addresses revolution march
Addressing his revolution march, Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri gave a deadline of 48 hours for the government to dissolve itself.He said after the deadline, the public would decide the fate of the rulers.“Revolution is the need of each and every family in Pakistan. My struggle for revolution is for 180 million people,” he said.Qadri also demanded Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resign and surrender before the police.
Things will improve in a few days: Siraj-ul-Haq
File photo shows Jamaat-i-Islami chief Siraj-ul-Haq. — Photo by INP
Jamaat-i-Islami chief Siraj-ul-Haq has predicted that the situation will be normalized soon.
Talking to DawnNews, he termed long march as an opportunity of joy for “depressed masses”.
The JI chief said that no heed should be paid to those predicting turbulence.
“Political figures are working to calm the situation down and everything will be fine in the next few days,” he added.
Rent, prices of food items climb in dharna-hit Islamabad
For PM Nawaz, it's business as usual
File Photo of PM Nawaz Sharif
Seemingly undeterred by two powerful sit-ins being staged by PTI and PAT in Islamabad, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is holding routine official meetings at the Prime Minister House.
In this regard, today Sharif chaired a meeting of Joint China Commission, where he directed officials concerned to immediately start work on Karachi-Lahore Motorway.
— Mateen Haider
PTI workers break gate at Sports Complex
Spot the PTI leaders
— Imran Khan speaks as senior party leaders look on
Qadri’s supporters outnumber Imran’s
AFP file photo of PTI supporters
While it is difficult to put a figure to the exact number of participants at the PTI and PAT rallies, police and journalists on the ground said that Tahirulk Qadri supporters in Islamabad outnumber those of Imran Khan.
On Saturday evening, DawnNews reporter Irfan Haider said the Pakistan Awami Tehreek supporters were better organised and had made provision for food and shelter. Most of them are from rural Punjab, with a large number from Jhang, but a generous estimate of the total number is about 12,000. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf supporters have an urban demographic, with the maximum number of supporters at about 10,000.
The Associated Press quoting police officials on the ground early Saturday evening reported that nearly 35,000 people were present at Qadri's rally and 25,000 at Khan's.
Both Khan and Qadri have vowed to bring 1 million followers into the streets of Islamabad, a city of roughly 1.7 million inhabitants.
AFP said that of the million promised in Islamabad by Khan and Qadri, just thousands remained in the capital by Saturday evening.
The tsunami can go to PM House: Imran
— screengrab of Imran addressing sit-in participants
Imran is back to address the crowd gathered at Aabpara for a sit-in.
“The tsunami that started in Lahore can go to Parliament House and Prime Minister’s House,” he said.
Addressing Chaudhry Nisar that there is a time limit on our patience. “Nisar, your conscience tells you that Nawaz has not won the election fairly. You must also be aware that the prime minister who keeps his money outside the country… where does this money come from?”
Suicide bombers planning to attack Islamabad protest rallies, warns Nisar
The country’s top intelligence agencies say terrorists are planning to carry out suicide attacks on protest rallies in Islamabad, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan told reporters today.
"Two suicide bombers are known to have entered,” Nisar told a press conference. “Their aim is to target PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf) and PAT (Pakistan Awami Tehreek) rallies.”
The information is based on reports from "the country’s top-most military intelligence agencies", he said.
Nawaz never played a cricket match till the umpire was on his side: Imran
— Imran Khan addressed supporters in Islamabad
The PTI Chairman alleged that Nawaz Sharif “never played a cricket match in Gym Khana till his umpires were appointed”.
“He has done the same in election. He has the same attitude towards judges,” Imran told supporters.
But now the Pakistani nation has made its decision, he said.
This crowd is the largest I have seen: Imran Khan
— screengrab of Imran addressing supporters
Imran remarked that the crowd gathered for his sit-in is overwhelmingly large.
“When I entered Pindi, I saw a sea of people. What is 1 million people? I have never seen so many people,” he said.
He promised to make the country financially strong.
“You will not need to line up for visas at US embassies. You will not need to run to Dubai in search of jobs. Citiziens of Pakistan will make money here, he said.
No deal between us and govt: Imran
PTI Chairman in his address to participants of the sit-in said, “There is no deal made between the PTI and government.”
“What could I want? What could Nawaz offer me?”
Imran Khan addresses the crowd
Imran looked up to the skies and said, “God we are ready. You can test us in any way you want.”
Imran says he will not go home till Nawaz resigns
Speaking to media representatives, the PTI chief said he will not go to his residence in Bani Gala and will spend the night with his supporters.
“I will not go home until the resignation of Nawaz Sharif,” he said.
Imran also called for the immediate resignation of Shahbaz Sharif and said that a government that had come to power through rigged elections had no legal standing.
He said that those involved in rigging should be tried under Article 6 of the Constitution.
Tahirul Qadri presents his charter of demands
Addressing his supporters, Qadri was presented the PAT’s charter of demands.
1) Resignation of Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, their governments as well as the arrests of the Sharif brothers in accordance with the law. He also called for the addition of the names of Sharif brothers to the exit control list so that they cannot leave the country.
2) He also called for the dissolution of the national and provincial assemblies and said the assemblies had people who did not meet constitutional requirements listed in Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution
3) He called for the formation of a national government which works on the project of thorough democratic reforms in the country
4) He called for the accountability of all corrupt individuals
5) Qadri called for free medical care for those who could not afford it.
6) He also called for free education for all so that no child is left without an education.
7) He further called for the state to ensure that the country’s women are financially independent.
I forgive the Gullu Butt of Islamabad: Tahirul Qadri
During his speech, Tahirul Qadri spotted an apparent trouble maker in the crowd who had a pistol on him.
The crowd brought the man to Qadri who took the pistol away from him and then embraced the man.
He advised them man not to engage in unlawful activity, saying he had forgiven the Gullu Butt of Islamabad.
The whole scene gave the air of a farce.
Tahirul Qadri calls for due process of law against Nawaz, Shahbaz
Addressing his supporters in Islamabad, Tahirul Qadri said that a case was being registered against Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif over the Model Town tragedy.
He added that now it was up to the police to either follow the due process and register an FIR or suffer the consequences.
He further invoked the memory of his 14 supporters who died in the Model Town tragedy of June 17 and asked if the law of the country would avenge the killings.
Qadri requested all shopkeepers in the area to open their shops so people can go about their business and purchase things from them.
I guarantee all shopkeepers that none of my supporters will cause harm and if there’s any harm done I will pay for it.
Blast from the past: When Nawaz offered Imran to join his party
Video: Qadri says our struggle for revolution will be peaceful
PTI leaders meet to discuss demands, deadlines
A consultative meeting of the PTI chaired by party chief Imran Khan is under way.
Javed Hashmi, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and other senior party leaders are partaking in the consultation.
The meeting is discussing the demands and the deadlines that PTI will be putting forth when the party begins its protest sit-in. — Reported by Sohail Iqbal Bhatti
'Protest should stay within the law'
Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar says the protest should be held within the parameters of the law.
Speaking at a press conference alongside Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq, Sarwar said that all political stakeholders, including the army, agree that there should not be any unconstitutional moves.
He said that MQM chief Altaf Hussain and Governor Sindh Ishratul Ibad are trying to resolve matters between the parties.
Govt preparing to negotiate with PTI, PAT
Supporters of Tahirul Qadri in Islamabad
Supporters of Tahirul Qadri in Islamabad on August 16, 2014. — Photo by AFP
Qadri announces "love for every human soul"
A supporter of Tahirul Qadri adorns her forehead with the word “Inqilab”. — Photo by Reuters
Calling for “love for every human soul,” Tahirul Qadri told his supporters that the democratic revolution that the PAT was seeking had no room for violence.
"Our revolution is democratic and has no room for militancy and terrorism," the PAT chief said.
Qadri said he and his party rejected violence and wanted peace.
"We are non-violent and believe in a non-violent revolution," he said, directing his supporters that if anyone is seen to be carrying arms, they shouldn't allow them to enter the crowd of PAT activists and supporters.
The revolution won't take much longer: Tahirul Qadri
PAT chief Tahirul Qadri. — File photo
Addressing a crowd of supporters in Islamabad, PAT chief Tahirul Qadri said the revolution will not take much longer.
He congratulated the nation on the so-called revolution in the country, adding that he would not move from the venue until the country experiences a revolution.
Qadri said he would present his party's charter of demands at 4 pm.
He said it was only after 11 pm that he and his marchers were permitted to enter Islamabad and promised his supporters that he will not abandon them and will not leave the venue until a revolution was set in motion.
Video: Imran Khan's address to the participants of long march in Islamabad
Political dramas should end now: Ahsan Iqbal
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal. — File photo
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has said that everyone had witnessed the turnout rate at Imran Khan’s long march.
Speaking to DawnNews in a television interview, the minister said the country was presently in a state of war, adding that political dramas should end now. He said people were facing immense problems due to marches and protests.
Iqbal said the PTI should not test the patience of the people any further.
He said the PML-N was prepared to approach Imran if the need arose.
Pomi Butt released on bail
Pomi Butt smiles as he appears in the court of a judicial magistrate today. — Photo by Iqbal Mirza
A judicial magistrate in Gujranwala accepted bail pleas of nine PML-N activists, including Pomi Butt, who had allegedly attacked PTI activists travelling in the Azadi march.
The magistrate ordered their release after the submission of surety bonds worth Rs 100,000 by each person.
Salman Khalid Butt alias Pomi Butt, who is a brother of PML-N MPA Imran Khalid Butt, had allegedly attacked PTI activists travelling in a caravan towards Islamabad. Following accusations of planning the clash between PML-N and PTI, Butt had offered himself for arrest before the police.
He was presented today in the court of the judicial magistrate amidst tight security arrangements during which the police requested that the nine defendants be sent on a 14-day judicial remand.
Judicial magistrate Rana Sheheryar accepted surety bonds of Butt, Liaquat Ali, Malik Fayyaz, Abdul Hameed, Waseem Yaqoob, Sajjad Ahmed, Aijaz Ahmed, Babar Ali and Malik llyas, and subsequently ordered their release.
Speaking to media representatives outside the court, Butt said it had been proven in court today that he was innocent. — Reported by Iqbal Mirza
No backchannel between govt, PTI: Irfan Siddiqui
Prime Minister's Special Assistant on National Affairs Irfan Siddiqui has said no backchannel talks were under way between the government and the PTI.
“No one has been formally mandated to hold any talks,” he said, adding that matters needed to be resolved in accordance with the law.
In a telephone interview with DawnNews, Siddiqui said that while Imran had the right to demand Nawaz’s resignation, the prime minister had the right to decide whether or not to resign.
“The PML-N has the majority in Parliament which has chosen Nawaz as the prime minister,” Siddiqui said.
He added that Imran’s demand for the dissolution of the Election Commission of Pakistan was absurd.
“It is as absurd as calling for the dissolution of the Supreme Court,” he said.
Pakistan has a Constitution and laws and all demands made by any individual or party must go through that sieve otherwise it will become the law of the jungle in the country, Siddiqui said.
Tahirul Qadri's supporters at Zero Point
The image shows PAT supporters taking shelter under the bridge at Zero Point. — Photo by Irfan Haider
Video: PTI leaders addressing activists in Islamabad earlier
Islamabad police stops PAT activists from setting up high stage in Red Zone
Islamabad Police has stopped the supporters of Tahirul Qadri from setting up a high stage in the capital’s Red Zone area.
A number of PAT activists and supporters are currently in the Red Zone area.
A stage was being set up in the area that houses sensitive buildings and installations but the police has directed PAT workers to halt the activity.
A PTI supporter in Islamabad
The image shows a PTI supporter standing on the roof of a vehicle in Islamabad. — Photo by Irfan Haider
PTI leaders in Islamabad
PTI leaders Asad Umer, Arif Alvi and Shireen Mazari. — Photo by Irfan Haider
I expect the political situation to improve: Sirajul Haq
Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq says he is expecting that the political situation will improve.
He said the JI has advised both parties to arrive at a middle-ground and an agreement of sorts.
Siraj added that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was also engaged in mediation efforts and he will be meeting its leaders soon.
One doesn't become PM by holding a big rally: Rana Sanaullah
PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah has said that Imran Khan shouldn’t think that just because he has managed to hold a big rally, he has become the country’s prime minister.
“No one becomes the country’s prime minister through a rally,” Sanaullah said, adding that if the PTI chief was sincere about holding discussions with the government, the premier would be happy to meet Imran at Bani Gala.
Sanaullah further said that if Imran really believed the elections to be rigged, he should call for the dissolution of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly first.
The PML-N leader said Imran should understand that nothing real could materialise from rallies and the PTI chief should sit down for talks with the government.
Sanaullah also said that he was accepting Imran’s challenge, adding that his party could manage to put together a bigger crowd if it had 10 days to do so.
He added that the PTI chief’s demands were unconstitutional.
Saad Rafique denounces Imran's demand for Nawaz resignation
PML-N leader and federal minister Saad Rafique has denounced Imran's demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and a mid-term election in the country.
The federal minister said that if Imran had any reasonable demands to make, he should start visiting the Parliament where these would be heeded by the elected representatives of the people.
Rafique said approaching the issue through street protests and sit-ins was erroneous on part of the PTI chief.
Imran trying to derail democracy: Marvi Memon
Marvi Memon, a PML-N member of parliament and spokeswoman, says Imran Khan had ignored constitutional routes to address his grievances.
She said Imran ignored all constitutional routes, including an offer by Nawaz to set up a judicial commission to investigate rigging allegations.
“All his efforts are undemocratic and unconstitutional and an effort to derail democracy,” she said.