A section of the Pakistani Lawyers and political activists have finished all their preparations for the scheduled Long March and sit in protest to reinstate the deposed judges. The Long March will begin simultaneously from different cities on March 12 and reach capital Islamabad on March 16. Tensions are running high in Pakistan because the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and chief of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have supported this and his party will actively participate in the protests. Recently a Supreme Court verdict had disqualified Mr. Sharif and his brothers from contesting the general elections that had already elected them. The verdict is alleged as part of a power game by the President Asif Ali Zardari to keep Mr. Sharif under pressure.
CHUP! – Changing Up Pakistan reports that ahead of the long march, crackdown on opposition activists and lawyers have started:
Media outlets reported that Pakistani police launched a crackdown on Wednesday, arresting dozens of opposition activists and lawyers and forbidding demonstrations on the eve of the Long March. [..]
Section 144, banning protests and marches, was imposed in Punjab and Sindh for three days and 15 days effectively.
Last Monday, Zardari issued a decree to establish mobile courts that could adjudicate on minor offenses on the spot. [..] Opposition parties, not surprisingly, promptly condemned the decree, saying the mobile courts would instead be used to target activists and lawyers during the Long March.
Given today’s developments, expect to see a lot more support for the opposition and the Long March, not just from lawyers and opposition activists, but from people who are unhappy with the country’s direction under Zardari and the deteriorating economic, political and security situations.
Ali Yar Khan at The Pakistani spectator writes:
No matter how much lies, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari of People’s Party tell us and no matter how much atrocities are showered on the lawyers, political workers, and civil society, the Long March is to happen and it is going to happen. Caravans are ready to depart for Islamabad. People from every walk of the life are in this long march and they all are ready to perform Dharna on the constitution avenue.
Punjab Home Secretary Rao Iftikhar Ahmed has said that rangers have been called in from various cities of Punjab. However, army could also be called in if need arises. Rehman Malik is also threatening the people about the terrorism during the long march, but already who is safe from terrorist and these political terrorists who are holding the whole nation hostage and who are dancing to the tunes of forces of darkness.
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