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Pakistan activists besiege Islamabad

By Aamir Latif
ISLAMABAD (AA) – Tens of thousands of opposition activists chanting anti-government slogans entered Islamabad on Friday night calling for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation. After entering Pakistan’s capital for two separate rallies, the protestors now plan to stage a sit-in amid heavy rain.
Their ‘long march’ on Islamabad began on Thursday in the north-eastern city of Lahore, taking 36 hours to cover a gruelling 370km (229 miles).
The supporters of former cricketer Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party and religious leader Tahir ul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehrik have vowed they will not leave the capital until the prime minister steps down. With many dancing to drums a few kilometers from Pakistan’s parliament, hundreds more carried sticks to take on the police in the event of a confrontation. The opposition alliance demands Sharif stands down for alleged vote-rigging in last year’s general election. However, the main opposition Pakistan People’s Party and other mainstream parties have rejected the demands of Khan and Qadri, calling them unconstitutional. The two leaders have also demanded the dissolution of parliament and the election commission. Both these demands have also been rejected by the government and the main opposition. Sharif has offered an investigation into allegations of electoral fraud by a three-member commission but the protest leaders refuse to accept any commission while Sharif is still in office.

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