15 Mar : Pakistan plunged deeper into a political chaos on Sunday night 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.
Pakistan’s Former Premier’s march towards Islamabad is on amid reports that a IGP of Punjab province’s police and several 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 two-time premier, defied his house arrest in Lahore as one of Pakistan’s biggest civil disobedience movement unfolded with hundreds of stone-throwing anti-government protesters including lawyers fighting pitched battles with police in the capital of Punjab province.
As people poured out into the streets of Lahore in support of the lawyers and opposition party workers, President Asif Ali Zardari and the ruling PPP appeared to be increasingly isolated.
Several government and police officials resigned from their posts and joined the long march, reflecting the popular support for the protest.In Islamabad, Deputy Attorney General Abdul Hai Gilani told reporters he had quit his post to protest the torture of lawyers, locking up of the High Court and police action against protestors.
In Lahore, reports said District Coordination Officer Sajjad Bhutta, IGP Khalid Farooq, DIG (Operations) Amjad Saleemi too had resigned after being told by their superiors to open fire to stop the protestors.
Equating his ‘long march’ to the 1947 freedom struggle, Sharif gave a call for Zardari’s ouster saying Pakistan could not be held hostage by a military or civilian dictator, in a veiled reference to the President.