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Nearly 25,000 police and paramilitary forces were deployed and mobile phone service shut down in the Pakistani capital as the government braced for opposition rallies demanding resignation of PM Nawaz Sharif and fresh elections. Here are the ten points you need to know about the protest:
1. The two groups, led by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and Canada-based cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, plan to converge on Islamabad to demand resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
2. Both Khan and Qadri have announced to lead their protestors from eastern city of Lahore to the capital and stage a sit-in till the government resigns.
3. Imran Khan wants the government’s ouster over alleged rigging in last year’s poll which his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf lost.
4. Cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri wants to bring a revolution in the country.
5. Fearing massive unrest Sharif’s government has blocked almost every entry point to Islamabad with nearly 25,000 police and paramilitary forces to prevent protesters from entering the capital.
6. The government has also ordered the suspension of mobile phone services and wireless Internet services in several parts of Islamabad for an indefinite period.
7. About 5,000 Islamabad capital territory police and thousands of paramilitary soldiers have been deployed in the capital.
8. The government has called army in Islamabad under a controversial order by invoking article 245 of the Constitution which authorises civilian government to summon armed forces in aid of the administration.
9. PM Sharif, in a last ditch effort to wean away the protestors, announced on Tuesday night to appoint a three-member commission of the SC to investigate fraud in the elections but Khan refused to back off.
10. Ananlysts, however, believe that the government will survive the confrontation as military is not prepared to topple it as there are fewer options of replacement.
(with PTI inputs)