Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran chief Dr Tahirul Qadri gave a 7-hour deadline to President Asif Zardari and the Pakistan People’s Party-led federal government to dissolve all assemblies by 11am today (Tuesday) as “they had lost the right to govern people”.
“Morally, your government and your assemblies have ended tonight,” Qadri told a mammoth gathering from behind a transparent bullet-proof box erected around a podium, after he had been bustled up the steps by handlers holding up what appeared to be bullet-proof shields,
“I will give you (the government) a deadline until tomorrow to dissolve the federal parliament and provincial assemblies. After that, the people’s assembly here will take their own decision… Their time is up, our time is now,” he said.
“Great sons of the democratic revolution, sons, daughters, scholars, traders, government officials, people from all other walks of life, stay until I tell you to leave,” he said.
“I congratulate the 180 million people of Pakistan who have backed me for the supremacy of law and for establishing a real democracy and ending tyranny, rigging and corruption, for snatching back the rights of the people from the elites, looters, terrorists who have deprived them of their rights,” he said.
Amidst slogans calling for “a revolution”, Qadri demanded the government shift the venue of the sit-in to D-Chowk in front of Parliament House as promised to him earlier by Interior Minister Rehman Malik. Urging his followers to remain peaceful while heading to D-Chowk, Dr Qadri urged the law enforcement agencies not to create hindrance in their march towards Parliament House.
Earlier, Qadri entered the capital late on Monday night through Faizabad interchange with thousands of his followers. His sleek black SUV was escorted by several cars of police and other security agencies, followed by charged activists of Minhajul Quran onboard cars, trucks and buses. Dozens of motorbikes were also seen moving with Qadri’s “democracy caravan”.
According to estimates, around 40,000 people accompanied Dr Qadri from Lahore all the way to Islamabad after spending nearly 36 hours on the road. The participants and those awaiting in Islamabad were chanting slogans and flashed victory signs as the convoy passed along Islamabad Express Highway.