ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday banned all public gatherings in Islamabad for two months, setting the stage for confrontation ahead of a major protest aimed at paralysing the capital and unseating Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The premier is under growing pressure from opposition parties over his children’s alleged offshore bank accounts that were revealed in the Panama Papers leak.
Imran Khan, who is due to lead the protest on November 2, has demanded Sharif to either stand down over the revelations or present himself for accountability.
“This will be a decisive and historic gathering, people will come together with resolve to hold the prime minister accountable,” Khan told reporters.
However, there will be a heavy police presence in Islamabad to deter protesters with confrontation now appearing inevitable.
Khan led a previous mass protest in the summer of 2014 that lasted four months, allying himself to populist cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri to back a sit-in in front of parliament calling for the government to resign over election rigging allegations.
A notification banned gatherings for two months because protests were “likely to threaten public peace and tranquility, cause public annoyance or injury, endanger human life and safety”.
The planned protest comes at a sensitive time for Sharif, with Pakistan’s Supreme Court due to start hearing a case into the Panama Papers revelations on November 1.
The court will also decide whether to launch a criminal investigation.-AFP