Undeterred by inclement weather and low turnouts, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) continue protests in Islamabad for a fourth day running.
Both PTI Chairman Imran Khan and PAT Chief Tahirul Qadri have so far stood firm on the one demand that remains off the negotiating table with the PML-N led government - that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif step down to make way for a new government, a new system.
Follow our updates on the ongoing political crisis below.
Shah calls for a parliamentary session to discuss PTI chief’s declaration
Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah has called for a session in the NA between the government and opposition parties to discuss PTI chief Imran Khan's call for civil disobedience.
He said that talks between political party leaders have already started.
“I am already speaking with Malulana Fazlur Rehman, Mahmood Achakzai, Aftab Sherpao and Sirajul Haq,” Shah said.
“We are conducting talks between the government and Imran Khan,” the opposition leader said.
“I will speak with various political parties tomorrow...We will debate and discuss Imran Khan’s statements,” Shah said.
“I am confident that within two days we will find a solution,” said the opposition leader.
Imran Khan’s civil disobedience declaration a joke, says Altaf
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain has said that PTI chairman Imran Khan’s call for civil disobedience, “Is nothing more than a joke”.
He said that if Imran Khan was going to make such a call, what was the point of having a long march.
“If he was going to make such a declaration, he should have done it earlier on,” said the MQM leader.
He urged the govt and PTI to resolve their differences through dialogue.
“The current political situation is causing harm to the country,” he said.
No political party is supporting the PTI, says Nisar
During a press conference, Federal Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan said the PTI is alone and that no political party is supporting them.
“The PTI is alone and no political party is supporting them,” the interior minister said.
He said that that civil disobedience movements work less against governments and more against politics itself.
“We are ready to accept all of Imran Khan’s constitutional and legal demands,” said Nisar.
He urged PTI chief Imran Khan and PAT chief Tahirul Qadri to work for democracy and Pakistan by uniting the country.
We will win this game before two days are up, says Imran Khan
During his speech PTI chief Imran Khan told party workers and supporters, “We will be celebrating before deadline is over”.
“We will win this game before the two days are up… we will be free,” the PTI chief said.
“The working people in the country have been crushed by this system,” he said
“If Imran Khan becomes prime minister, he will never ask money from anyone…I will never ask for money from Saudi Arabia, America or the IMF” said Imran.
“The Islamabad police cannot stop this sea of people,” said the PTI chief.
Two days, or...
"Chaudhry Nisar...tell your prime minister I will not be able to hold my people beyond two days," Imran says, outlining possible dire outcomes of the PTI's demands not being met.
"Thank you God for helping me to achieve my 18-year dream to wake the Pakistani nation."
Imran ends his speech. Chants of "Go Nawaz Go!" erupt.
Imran has the crowd charged with pointed, amusing, inspiring one-liners: "Change isn't coming...its here!" He asks the crowd to raise its hands in a solemn vow not to cross into the Red Zone. The crowd obliges.
"Nawaz Sharif I know you will send your people to strike a deal with me, please don't waste my time," Imran says, calling on the crowd to "give me the names of those corrupt people who have looted you."
The PTI Chairman promises two fun-filled days of protest, fist pumping as the DJ blasts tunes.
Building Naya Pakistan
"We're here to build a Naya Pakistan!" Imran says as the crowd goes wild, dancing to 'Jazba Junoon'.
He asked his supporters to not advance into the Red Zone - for now.
Two day deadline - protests to continue
Imran gives the government one week to dissolve, while asking the crowd if they "would prefer [to give the government] three days...or two?".
"We don't accept this false prime minister! We will gather here and expose all the corrupt members of this government," Imran says.
The PTI Chairman says after two days, "He will not be able to hold his people back any longer".
Crowd jubilant over saying no to taxes
"Don't pay taxes...don't pay electricity bills...don't pay GST till Nawaz resigns!" Imran chants, with the crowd cheering on.
"Build your resolve and ensure this setup cannot continue," the PTI Chairman says, having to pause due to the cacophony.
Doing this for Pakistan...
Imran claims not paying taxes will have a big impact on the corrupt government.
"I'm not doing this [civil disobedience] for me...I'm doing it for you," Imran says, explaining how the movement was critical for tackling injustice, oppression and corruption.
The PTI Chairman outlines the dangers he faced coming to the rally, narrating how the Interior Ministry told him the Punjabi Taliban would try to attack him.
'Dont pay taxes' movement launched
Imran announces the launch of a new civil disobedience movement, focused on not paying taxes.
"Will you pay taxes?" Imran yells out to a jubilant crowd which screams, "No!".
Lambasting Geo owner
"Shakeelur Rehman...you will go...and so will your channel [Geo]...and God willing, I will get millions of tax rupees back from you!" Imran says.
The PTI Chairman questions what the police should do if the tsunami march moves towards the PM house.
March to PM house?
"What path forward do we have left?" Imran asks.
The crowd chants once more.
"There is one path left...that the Tsunami march to the Prime Minister house!"
Corruption aplenty, Imran alleges
Imran churns out more anecdotes, statistics and allegations all-sorts against Nawaz Sharif.
He alleges that Nawaz "bought Najam Sethi" and "bought Mir Shakeelur Rehman" (Jang Group owner) for personal gain.
"What should we do with Nawaz Sharif now?" Imran demands, as the crowd erupts with chants of "Go Nawaz Go!".
Imran resumes his speech - reiterates it is his political career's most important speech.
"If everyone does what I say in this speech, then no one can stop us," he says as the crowd erupts with cheers.
Imran outlines a number of reasons why Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should resign - the rhetoric is familiar, covering a range of election rigging and corruption allegations.
A bigger crowd today
DawnNews correspondent Sohail Iqbal Bhatti reports that yesterday's crowd was almost half the crowd seen today. He added that a lot more women were in attendance today.
While describing deplorable conditions witnessed yesterday, Bhatti added that the numbers may have improved as administration of the protest site has improved to some extent.
"The PTI should audit where the money to arrange this event went."
Bhatti reports that PTI activists have been in high spirits, despite the rains.
Speech of a lifetime
The PTI Chairman begins his speech by promising this will be his political career's most important speech.
PTI Chairman reaches protest
Imran Khan's promised "final match" remains on schedule as the Banni Gala convoy has reached the protest site.
Imran's speech, scheduled for 8pm, is expected to present the PTI's new line of action.
With supporters dwindling in number, this may be the PTI Chairman's last effort to achieve the party's principle objectives i.e. the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and fresh elections under a caretaker setup.
Nawaz must resign or more street protests to follow: MWM
The Majlis Wahdat-ul-Muslimeen (MWM) has said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif must hand in his resignation before the deadline, or they will also join in street protests against the government.
MWM leader Nasir Abbas said that protests will first start from Karachi and then they will lead up through Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab.
"Until the leadership is overthrown, the struggle will continue," Abbas said. The MWM leader said that the current government has come into power with a fake mandate.
The MWM has been seen on stage with PAT chief Tahirul Qadri.
Nawaz arrives in Islamabad
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has arrived in Islamabad. He is expected to hold a critical meeting with PML-N stalwarts to discuss options regarding the ongoing political crisis.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar will also be attending the meeting, which is being held at the same time as Imran Khan's 'final speech'.
PTI Chairman heads to rally
Imran Khan has exited his Banni Gala residence with a large convoy, en-route to the protest. A small number of supporters are accompanying the convoy as well.
He is expected to make an important announcement at 8pm today. Given that Banni Gala is approximately a 25-30 minute drive from the protest site, it is hoped that his speech will be deserved on time.
- Kashif Hussain reports.
Nawaz Sharif cannot bear the revelations i make today: Imran Khan
"Nawaz sharif would not be able to bear the revelations i make today and it will take a maximum of one or two weeks for the government to finally leave," the PTI chief said while talking to a private TV channel.
Imran Khan further said "No one destroyed democracy like Nawaz Sharif has, how can you call it merit when the prime minister's daughter was given a fund worth Rs10bn to handle, his brother gets elected as a chief minister for the third time, and brother-in-law and nephew are given key government posts."
When asked about criticism over Imran's stay at his Bani Gala residence he said that he had gone home to sleep and then had to take a bath as well and had immediately returned to the sit-in venue.
He said he would continue to hold his protests and would not quit until Nawaz Sharif resigned.
Suspect arrested from Qadri crowd
A suspicious individual was arrested from a crowd that PAT chief Tahirul Qadri was addressing, reports suggest.
The individual was removed from the crowd after being regarded as a security threat. No further details were available.
Qadri in response while speaking on stage said that "My chest is bare for those who want to strike me".
PTI gets approval to set up stage near Serena chowk
Punjab Police personnel arrive to reinforce security during an anti-government protest in Islamabad on August 17, 2014. — Photo by AFP
A clash between PTI protestors and security forces seemed to have been averted after the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf was given permission to set up a stage near Serena chowk.
There is no bigger Lenin, Stalin or Marx than me, says Qadri
Qadri was speaking to his supporters when he made the remarks and further said that Pakistan will have a "system that will be in line with the Quran and the vision of Jinnah and Iqbal".
He lashed out at the system saying that it cannot catch thieves when it is full of thieves themselves.
Qadri and his supporters also started chanting slogans of "Go Nawaz go".
Ishaq Dar departs for Dubai to meet Zardari: sources
Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar left for Dubai on Sunday where he is expected to hold talks with former president Asif Ali Zardari over the current political situation in the country, DawnNews quoted sources as saying.
PTI workers continue to advance, situation precarious
Activity on the edge of Islamabad's Red zone intensified as charged up, stick wielding PTI protesters hit containers and removed barbed wire blocking their route.
Policemen gathered and took up positions above and around the containers keeping an eye on the advancement of protesters.
Some security personnel were also seen on the run after PTI supporters charged towards them.
Workers heading towards Red zone to set up stage: Shahryar Afridi
PTI leader Shahryar Afridi claimed that party workers, especially charged up members of the Insaf Students Federation (ISF), were heading towards the Red Zone areas to establish a stage in the area.
Another reporter claimed that the PTI workers headed towards the federal capital's Red Zone area after announcements were made through loudspeakers on the existing stage set up at the sit-in area.
’Peaceful protest’...with sticks
PTI workers are brandishing sticks, while a set of supporters have formed a human shield around the main crowd near the Red Zone.
Some members of the Islamabad police have advanced and are seen speaking to PTI supporters, assumedly to request them to move back.
PTI workers continue to advance
PTI workers have advanced right up to the containers that have been placed at the Red Zone.
Police forces are preparing to take on the charged crowd, while PTI leaders including Asad Umer are with supporters, attempting to stop the advance.
PTI supporters are waving sticks in the air, while celebratory chants are to be heard.
PTI workers not to enter Red zone, Naeemul Haq
PTI leader Naeemul Haq said that party chief Imran Khan has asked workers to remain peaceful and not to enter the Red zone in Islamabad.
He said the situation would become clear after Imran Khan's address today and added that any kind of negotiations are irrelevant at the moment.
Answering a question over criticism against Imran Khan for leaving his workers last nigh Haq said Imran Khan slept in his container last night and will sleep in the same container tonight as well.
The PTI leader also confirmed that Leader of opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurheed Shah has contacted Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
Answering another question about joining Pakistan Awami Tehreek Dr Tahirul Qadri he said that PTI did not agree to the PAT's demand of the formation of a national government for the next four years as announced in the meeting between Qadri and Chaudhry brothers held in London.
"We want govt to resign and elections be held as per the Constitution of Pakistan," Naeemul Haq added.
Container advances, crowd jubilant
The PTI's new container is advancing slowly towards the Red Zone.
PTI workers on-ground claim the government is "afraid of them" as the route to Parliament appears clear.
A massive contingent of police is positioned in the area and a major clash is feared.
Security forces move to stop protesters from entering Red Zone
Security personnel have moved into positions to prevent PTI protesters from crossing into Islamabad's Red zone areas.
PTI workers headed towards Red Zone
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf workers were heading towards Islamabad's Red zone area. The stick-wielding PTI workers were removing barriers placed on their way to the Red Zone area of the federal capital city and also shouting anti-government slogans.
A drone's eye view of the PAT sit-in venue in Islamabad
Government will be gone in a week: Imran
PTI Chairman Imran Khan spoke to DawnNews and said today would be his final address to the dharna.
He also said the government will only be around "a few days more", and "maximum a week". The PTI Chairman did not clarify how this would take place.
PTI contacted by govt
Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar — File photo by APP
Sarwar has been in contact with leaders of several political parties including the PPP, JI and the MQM.
— Shiraz Hasnat reported from Lahore
Analysis: Imran Khan overplays hand in Pakistan power game
- Photo shared by @ImranKhanPTI/Twitter
In taking his campaign to force out Nawaz Sharif on to the streets of Islamabad, Khan may have overplayed his hand.
This weekend his crowd of followers was already thinning out, and without overt support from the military his protests are unlikely to be a game-changer.
In the past, the military may have seen Khan as a useful figure to ensure it remains the real centre of power...but the military also see him as a nuisance.
Red Zone-bound PTI container reaches Aabpara chowk
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf brought in a new container at Aabpara chowk, which may be used to set up a stage inside Islamabad's Red zone.
The government beefed up security in around Islamabad's Red zone and Aabpara areas and deputed additional 20,000 policemen for security.
Additional containers were also placed around the Parliament House on the directives of Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Kahnhad.
— Sohail Iqbal Bhatti reported from Islamabad
MQM representative Mustafa Aziz Abadi termed the current political crisis an issue of zid (stubbornness) by the leaders of the political parties involved.
Outlining the MQM perspective, he said the party still believes there is time for dialogue and negotiations.
More meetings, more talk on the Red Zone
Leader of the Opposition Khurshid Shah met with JI Chief Sirajul Haq in Karachi in yet another meeting aimed at ending the political stand-off between the PML-N led government and the PTI/PAT.
The media briefing after the meeting revealed little about what the PPP and JI were specifically working on.
The only clear message from the meeting extended by both leaders was a need to ensure "democracy is not derailed", along with a plea to Imran:
Do not advance towards the Red Zone.
More containers, more holidays
More containers are being placed around the Red Zone today in anticipation of PTI supporters attempting to enter the sensitive area.
Additionally, schools in Islamabad will now open on August 25 instead of August 18.
Altaf, Shah warn against intrusion into parliament
MQM chief Altaf Hussain (L) and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah belonging to the PPP ® — File photo
He further said entering into Red Zone areas and attacks on government installations should be avoided at all costs and added that the ruling and opposition parties should keep in mind that armed forces of the country are engaged in a war against terrorists.
An MQM delegation led by party leader Haider Abbas Rizvi arrived at the sit-in venues to deliver food items to the PTI and PAT workers.
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah said if Imran Khan’s rally intrudes on Parliament's premises then it will be considered a ‘murder of democracy’.
Responding to Imran's statement that workers may reach Parliament or the PM house, the senior Pakistan Peoples Party leader said such a step would be criminal.
— Mateen Haider contributed to the reporting from Islamabad
Take us seriously, Mazari demands
When questioned about multiple warnings issued in relation to the Red Zone, PTI leader Shireen Mazari said the non-serious attitude of the government would be to blame.
“If the government does not take us seriously, our supporters may get out of control. Just because we have managed to control them so far doesn’t mean you don’t take our demands seriously.”
She added that, “The government still has no direct contact with us…we cannot negotiate through media updates.”
Nawaz in a huddle
A PTI supporter sleeps under an umbrella - Reuters
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has summoned a meeting to discuss the demands put forward by the PTI and PAT.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Federal Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Jamaat-i-Islami Chief Sirajul Haq and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah are attending the meeting.
On Saturday, a senior PML-N leader told Dawn that the prime minister had been closely watching the marches, but “he is in no hurry to engage both Mr Khan and Mr Qadri in talks”.
Weather improves, bringing relief to protesters
Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch has declared the PTI, PAT rallies 'unconstitutional'.
He said that the leaders need to take mature steps to resolve the crises prevailing in the country, rather than staging unconstitutional protests.
Stop inciting violence, Marvi warns
Marvi Memon. – Photo by APP
Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Marvi Memon said the leaders of PTI and PAT are inciting violence and endangering lives by suggesting their supporters could enter the Red Zone.
Memon said the government is ready for talks, but conflict is inevitable if the opposition tries to enter the Red Zone. She said if protesters march into the Red Zone at 3pm, security forces will respond accordingly.
2,520 PTI, PAT activists in 27 Punjab jails
As many as 2,520 office-bearers and activists of Pakistan Awami Tehreek and Tehreek-i-Insaf detained under 3-MPO ahead of ‘Inqilab’ and ‘Azadi’ marches across Punjab, are still languishing in 27 jails of the province and will remain there till further government orders.
PTI leaders, sleeping in warm beds...
The party leadership, which is staunchly against the badshahat (fiefdom) of the Sharifs, went back home - Javed Hashmi and Chairman Imran Khan are said to have sped away to Bani Gala to catch up on their sleep. Both party leaders have their residences in this scenic and upscale neighbourhood in the suburbs of Islamabad.
Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi and member of the National Assembly Asad Umer from Islamabad found comfort in their apartments in an upscale residential building in F-10, overlooking Islamabad’s largest park.
Party General Secretary Jahangir Tareen is said to have retreated to his house in F-6 while the official spokesperson for the party and chairman, Dr Shireen Mazari, also lives nearby.
I will not even leave Lahore, let alone Pakistan: Rana Sanaullah
PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah has said he is neither leaving the country nor running anywhere abroad.
Speaking to DawnNews via telephone, Sanaullah said those who are claiming that he will flee the country should know that he won’t even leave the provincial capital.
He was speaking in relation to Tahirul Qadri’s statements in which the PAT chief had said that Sanaullah would leave the country after the court ruled that a case be registered against the Sharif brothers and senior PML-N figures over the Model Town tragedy.
Security beefed up for PTI rally, anti-terror squad deployed
An anti-terrorism squad has been deployed in Aabpara as PTI supporters prepared for yet another day of protests.
Security has also been beefed up around Imran Khan’s container due to reported threats and there is increased presence of personnel from Islamabad police. —Reported by Fawad Chaudhry
PAT chief Tahirul Qadri's 'revolution'
Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri has given a deadline of 48 hours for the government to meet its charter of demands. Qadri also demanded Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resign and surrender before the police.
Major points from the PAT’s charter of demands:
1) Resignation of Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif as well as the arrests of the Sharif brothers in accordance with the law. The PAT also demands the addition of the names of Sharif brothers to the exit control list so that they cannot leave the country
2) The dissolution of the national and provincial assemblies as the assemblies have members who do not meet constitutional requirements listed in Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution
3) The formation of a national government which works on the project of thorough democratic reforms in the country
Addressing charged crowds last night, PTI Chairman Imran Khan made it clear that he was in it for the long haul.
A recap of major statements made by Imran are below:
I will not go home until the resignation of Nawaz Sharif
I demand the immediate resignation of Shahbaz Sharif
Those involved in rigging should be tried under Article 6 of the Constitution
The tsunami that started in Lahore can go to Parliament House and Prime Minister’s House
Whoever has stamina can stay and whoever wants to go and come back but I'm going to be here
There is no deal made between the PTI and the government
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 on Saturday, 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.
Suicide bombers planning to attack Islamabad protests, 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.
Batsman, bowler, umpire Imran is harming his political credentials: Pervaiz Rasheed
PML-N leader and Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed has said that before the long march started, Imran had assured the administration that he would stay at the designated spot for the rally but has broken his word saying he would now proceed towards the Red Zone.
Speaking to DawnNews in a television interview, Rasheed said Imran is harming his political credentials by acting as the batsman, the bowler as well as the umpire.
He compared PTI supporters to the Taliban in North Waziristan, saying both wanted to enforce their agenda by force.
If PTI does not adopt democratic behaviour, then whatever happens in the country in the next several days will be its fault and the fault of Imran Khan.
The PML-N leader said people with democratic credentials have been trying to throw some sense into the PTI leadership and supporters and they should heed that advice.
Situation in Islamabad quite serious: Hasan Askari Rizvi
Security analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi said the situation in Islamabad is quite serious and if it doesn't resolve, things can deteriorate pretty quickly.
Responding to a question in a telephone interview with DawnNews, Rizvi said Sunday may not be the final round but things can become tense depending on how the situation develops.
He added the government shouldn't take the situation so lightly and said the government should come forward and make recommendations on the crisis.
Rizvi said certain political leaders have tried to act as interlocutors but Sirajul Haq is now saying that the government is not offering any suggestions.
The analyst said the government must become proactive in resolving the crisis as the crowd will not disperse by itself.