Imran Khan calls for ‘civil disobedience’ movement in Pakistan

Imran Khan
Supporters of Tahirul Qadri wait for their leader during Sunday’s protest in Islamabad.

Supporters of Tahirul Qadri wait for their leader during Sunday’s protest in Islamabad.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Imran Khan has called on thousands of protesters rallying in Islamabad to launch a civil disobedience movement against the government, as a leading religious scholar said that only a “revolution” would bring about change.

“There is only one way to get rid of this government, which is to launch a civil disobedience campaign from today,” Imran Khan said, addressing the protesters he had led to the capital from Lahore.

He appealed to the people to stop paying utility bills and taxes to the current government, accusing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of plundering national wealth to furnish his business empire.

“I am giving a two-day deadline to the government,” he said, adding that after that he would not be able to stop his workers from marching on the prime minister’s house in the “Red Zone,” where government buildings and embassies are located.

Imran Khan’s announcement came as thousands of opposition demonstrators crowded the streets of the Pakistani capital for a second day on Sunday, after Tahirul Qadri issued a 48-hour ultimatum demanding the arrest of Sharif.

Addressing supporters on Sunday, Tahirul Qadri said that what he called a corrupt system of governance could not be changed without a revolution.

But the fiery speeches by Khan and Qadri were not matched by manpower. Just thousands of protesters remained in the capital as of Sunday evening as against a million people promised by the pair.

Security in Islamabad has been ramped up since the protests began, with some 30,000 police and other security forces on the streets.

“The country’s survival will be at stake if Nawaz Sharif and his cronies are allowed to rule the country,” Qadri added. “We don’t want mid-term elections… what we want is revolution,” he said, adding that corruption was rampant.

Imran Khan

Imran Khan

 
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