Islamabad, Mar 12: The 'Long march' initiated by the PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and the lawyers of Pakistan to press the ruling PPP government to restore the judges sacked by former President Pervez Musharraf began amidst political unrest in the nation. The government arrested the President of the lawyers association.
Nawaz who addressed a massive rally in Abbottabad on Wednesday, Mar 11 dared the government to stop the rally and said this march will lead to change in the nation.
Protesters began their march from the Karachi Bar in the city court. And from there, they will march to the Sindh High Court. Beginning simultaneously from Karachi and Quetta, the march is expected to reach Multan on Mar 14. From Multan the protesters will proceed to Lahore and reach there on Mar 15, where already there are prohibitory orders against large groups assembling as well as pre-emptive arrests.
Meanwhile the Interior Minister Rehman Malik requested the National Assembly speaker to form a parliamentary committee comprising members from both sides to negotiate with the lawyers for working out ways for a peaceful long march.
Most of the judges sacked by Musharraf was restored by the PPP government, but a few including former Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry are yet to regain post. Zardari is believed to fear that those judges could move to limit his power or reopen corruption cases against him that were dropped by Musharraf when the former general was seeking to forge a political alliance before last year's elections.
The government is also cracking down on the political parties and leaders to curb the unrest from spreading. It has arrested the key leaders of the parties. Tehreek-e-Insaaf leader Imran Khan went underground to evade arrest. Section 144 is declared in Lahore and Karachi.