Pakistani police block anti-govt protest march
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Islamabad, March 13, IRNA -- Police in the Pakistani port city of Karachi Thursday blocked hundreds of lawyers and political activists from anti-government march on the capital Islamabad, the organizers said.
The marchers were stopped shortly after they left the city in buses, coaches and cars for Islamabad to stage a sit-in outside the parliament house.
The long-march is aimed at pressing the government to restore the Chief Justice Supreme Court and other judges sacked by former President Pervez Musharraf in 2007 when he imposed emergency rule.
The marchers will reach Islamabad on March 16 to stage a sit-in outside the parliament house in the city’s center.
But the government says the marchers will not be allowed to enter Islamabad.
Hundreds of marchers were stopped at Toll Plaza in the outskirts of Karachi and several political leaders of Muslim League (N), Jamaat-e-Islami, Tehrik-e-Insaf, Sunni Tehrik and Labour Party.
Several senior lawyers were also arrested and they were taken locked in police stations.
The police parked containers on the main highway and stopped vehicles carrying lawyers and political activists.
Unidentified men torched five trucks and opened fire, inuring at least three people in Sachal Goth area of Karachi.
City Police Chief Muhammad Wasim defended blockade of the long-march and arrests, saying that the government had banned gatherings under a law.
He said there had been credible intelligence reports of terrorist acts and that is why the government had banned the gatherings.
Another motorcade of marchers from the southwestern city of Quetta was allowed to begin journey to Islamabad.
President Supreme Court Bar Association Ali Ahmed Kurd is leading the caravan.
Kurd condemned the government for blocking the march in Karachi and said that tens of thousands of lawyers and political activists will gather in Islamabad on March 16.
Former Prime Minister and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif will join the march in the eastern city of Lahore on March 15, organizers said.
Interior Ministry Thursday told Sharif that he is under terrorist threat and that he should avoid appearance in public rallies.
Sharif recently addressed huge rallies and lashed out at President Zardari for not restoring the sacked judges.
Marchers from Sindh and Balochistan provinces will arrive in Multan in Punjab on March 14 for onward journey to Islamabad.
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