SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Aljazeera: Tens of thousands of protesters are preparing to convene in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, in the “deciding day” of a bid to bring down Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, after discussions between opposition groups and the government ended without agreement.
Anti-government cleric Tahir ul-Qadri, who has a huge following and runs a network of Islamic schools and hospitals, told his supporters on Thursday he had “shut the door” on further talks and urged them to prepare for a decisive day in their campaign to Sharif.
“Thursday will be Revolution Day,” he told a roaring crowd. “We will not go forward from tomorrow as it will be the deciding day.”
Opposition politician Imran Khan has also promised an important statement for Thursday.
Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has called on the embattled PM to step down, accusing him of rigging last year’s election which he won by a landslide vote, taking 190 of the 342 seats in the national assembly.
In a bid to resolve the standoff, government representatives held sporadic talks with protest leaders, but the latest round of negotiations ended inconclusively.
Both Qadri and Khan have made dramatic statements about their intentions since the start of the protests on August 15, with several ultimatums passing without action and Sharif rejecting their calls for his resignation.
Qadri and his Pakistan Awami Tehreek party want Sharif to step aside because of corruption.
Sharif and his Pakistan Muslim League-N party have dismissed the allegations and accused the protesters of undermining the country’s fragile democracy.
The protests in Islamabad have so far been largely peaceful, with security forces deployed in huge numbers in the capital, taking a hands-off approach to the demonstrations.
But on Thursday, security was visibly increased in the centre of the capital.
In a show of defiance, some protesters dug graves in the capital’s Constitution Avenue to show they are prepared to die for their cause.
Littered with rubbish and a putrid smell of human waste, thousands have camped outside parliament determined to stay on despite the heat and occasional monsoon downpours.