Pakistan activists set for protest | News | Al Jazeera

Pakistan activists set for protest

Riot police arrest activists gathered for start of "long march" against government.

    Riot police were deployed as anti-government protesters prepared to begin thier march [AFP]

    Those leaving Karachi on Thursday are scheduled to arrive in Islamabad on Monday, where they hope they will join thousands of other anti-government protesters for a rally outside the parliament.

    Arrests made
     
    The vow to hold the 1,500km-long march comes in spite of a ban on demonstrations in the provinces of Punjab and Sindh.

    Police rounded up about 300 people on Wednesday from cities around the country. Media reports said that the government is planning to blockade the capital.

    Among those detained were members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan’s main opposition party.

    Nawaz Sharif, leader of PML-N and a former prime minister, had called on Wednesday for people to "change the destiny of Pakistan" by attending the march.

    The PML-N quit the cabinet last year to protest against the government's failure to honour a deadline for reinstating the sacked judges.

    Sharif disqualified

    In February, Pakistan's supreme court disqualified Sharif from contesting elections, fuelling the bitter power struggle between the PML-N leader and Zardari, who briefly allied in the campaign to force Musharraf from the presidency.

    Thousands of troops have been put on alert across Sindh province, a spokesman for the Rangers unit said.

    "Our paramilitary troops are deployed in and around sensitive places in Karachi including government buildings, major hotels, Western food franchises, diplomatic missions and other installations," Major Mohammad Ali said.

    The growing divide between the government and the opposition has increased concerns over the long-term stability of nuclear-armed Pakistan, a major US ally in the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    America's Guns: Secret Pipeline to Syria

    America's Guns: Secret Pipeline to Syria

    How has the international arms trade exacerbated conflict in the Middle East? People and Power investigates.

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.