The Azadi March (or Freedom March) is set for Aug. 14 on Pakistan’s Independence Day, but some are trying to stop it. The Lahore High Court has summoned Imran Khan, leader of the PTI political party, Dr. Tahirul Qadri, leader of PAT, and Shaikh Rasheed, head of AML to appear in court tomorrow.
Petitions filed against Azadi March
Khan and his party, as well as Tahir ul Qadri’s party, are planning to march against the government on Aug. 14. Khan’s march is being referred to as the Azadi March, while Qadri’s march is being called the Inqilab March (or Revolution March). Petitions trying to block the Azadi March have been filed, and tomorrow’s court summons is aimed at resolving the issue. Shaikh Rasheed has sided with both of the movements, which is why he was summoned along with the party leaders.
In addition to the leaders of PTI, PAT and AML, the court has also summoned former chief minister Punjab Pervaiz Elahi and President Pakistan Muslim League-Q Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. Supporters of the Pakistan Muslim League protested outside Khan’s residence and shouted slogans against him.
Azadi March to protest elections
The Azadi March is aimed at protesting allegations of election rigging in the May 11 general election. The Freedom March is targeted at changing the system through what Qadri has termed a “public revolution.” Imran Khan’s rally is expected to be rather peaceful, while Qadri’s protest could be more volatile, according to Dawn. As a result, there is no guessing what will happen on the date of the marches, as it’s possible that more violent protestors will hijack the peaceful rally planned by the PTI.
Khan said his march will bring about a “New Pakistan” in which the law’s rule will be most important. He said it’s time that the Sharif monarchy” and “government rule” were over. When addressing PTI supporters, he said that the army is on their side and that not even Pakistani police will stop them. Lawmakers are warning protestors not to take to violence. Khan has said, however, that the PTI doesn’t support martial law.
Tomorrow night, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to address the country. Most expect him to talk about the country’s political situation and about the standoff between the protestors and the government. He has said that there is still room for negotiations with Khan and the other activists.