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Pakistan bans protests ahead of major rally

Pakistan bans protests ahead of major rally

Pakistan announced a ban on public gatherings in its largest province ahead of a planned anti-government rally by lawyers and opposition parties.
Media reports Wednesday also quoted at least one party leader as saying police had arrested more than 20 if its activists ahead of the march. Authorities were not available to confirm that.
The protesters have vowed to gather in cities around the country Thursday before leaving for the capital, Islamabad, where they plan to stage a sit-in at the parliament building.
They are demanding that President Asif Ali Zardari fulfill a pledge he made to restore judges fired by former President Pervez Musharraf. The judges are believed likely to be hostile to the already-shaky rule of Zardari. Last month, the Supreme Court banned opposition leader Nawaz Sharif from elected office, leading him to call on his followers to join the protest.
Late Tuesday, Rao Iftikhar, the home secretary in the eastern Punjab province, said he had issued orders for a ban on public gatherings there "so that terrorists cannot take any advantage by targeting political gatherings."
The ban will remain in force for three months, he said.
Punjab is Pakistan's largest province and the political heartland of Sharif.
The looming showdown comes as Pakistan is battling surging militant violence and a sinking economy. The crisis could lead to political deadlock and even some form of intervention by the country's powerful military, which have often seized power in the past following chaotic civilian rule.


Updated : 2020-12-03 05:57 GMT+08:00