Pakistan security overdrive as Imran Khan plans 8-day ‘freedom’ march to capital

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ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan announced Wednesday that his party would embark on a “haqeeqi azadi (real freedom)” march from Lahore‘s Liberty Square to Islamabad starting Friday, vowing to mobilise “the biggest sea of people” the country has seen in a bid to pressure the Shehbaz Sharif-led coalition government into calling early elections. The long march through the landmark Grand Trunk Road leading to the capital city will enter its destination on November 4.
“I am marching as part of the greatest freedom struggle in the history of Pakistan,” said Imran, who was barred from holding public office in a controversial ruling by the country’s Election Commission last week.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Asad Umar, a former minister, said Imran and his supporters would cover nearly 400km in a week.
Former PM and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif alleged that the proposed long march was meant to create a situation where the next army chief would be of Imran’s choosing rather than any noble goal.
“The people saw what revolution he brought about during his four-year term as PM,” Sharif said. “The PTI chief proved to be the biggest thief in history, with irrefutable evidence.”
The government has already ordered that all important roads in Islamabad and locations with shipping containers be sealed as part of steps to counter the march. Islamabad Police said a total of 13,086 officers, including two of DIG rank, four SSPs and 11 SPs, would oversee security along the march route.
Around 8,000 paramilitary personnel and 1,022 policemen from Sindh province will be deployed.





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