Islamabad: Pakistan plunged deeper into a political chaos tonight as a defiant Nawaz Sharif joined by tens of thousands of supporters in Lahore was headed towards Islamabad for a mass sit-in front of Parliament on Monday amid reports that IGP of Punjab province’s police and other senior officials had resigned and joined his ‘long march´ for restoration of the Constitution.
Heading for a showdown with the government, Sharif, the PML-N leader and a former prime minister, defied his house arrest in Lahore as one of Pakistan’s biggest civil disobedience movement unfolded with hundreds of stone-throwing anti-government protesters fighting pitched battles with police in the capital of Punjab province. The Punjab deputy attorney general was also reported to have resigned.
As Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani met Army chief general Ashfaq Gilani to discuss the escalating situation, the protests by lawyers and PML-N supporters for restoration of judges sacked in 2007 by the then president Pervez Musharraf gathered steam and threatened to spiral out of control after Sharif defied the house arrest.
Emerging from his Model Town residence, Sharif who his party supporters said was ordered to be placed under house arrest for three days along with his brother Shabaz Sharif urged people to defy restrictions and join the ‘long march´.
“Brothers, do not be scared or worried. These obstacles are temporary. We must remove them and only then can we reach our destination,” he said.
Denounced his house arrest order as illegal, Sharif told his flag-waving and chanting supporters, “These are the decisive moments.” “After 1947 this is the second time that the country needs you,” the former premier said giving a call to oust President Asif Ali Zardari.