Continuing their tough stance against activists and lawyers,Pakistani authorities on Friday blocked all major highways leading to the capital to prevent a protest march,demanding reinstatement of sacked judges,from reaching here.
Police and paramilitary forces on Friday blocked another group of activists marching from Balochistans capital Quetta to Sukkur in Sindh and arrested the Supreme Court Bar Association President Ali Ahmed Kurd along with some others.
The police action followed Thursdays arrest of dozens of lawyers and political activists who stopped a motorcade on the way to Sukkur from Karachi.
But an undeterred Kurd,who staged a sit-in the whole of Thursday night before his arrest,said: We have told our supporters to reach Islamabad by other routes in smaller groups… We are determined to go ahead with our mass protest outside the National Assembly. The march by lawyers and opposition leaders was to support reinstatement of sacked judges,but has mushroomed into a wider protest against the Government.
Showing no signs of reconciliation despite pressure from the US,authorities on Friday extended the ban on rallies to all major cities of NWFP,including the provincial capital Peshawar.
PML(N) chief Nawaz Sharif told a local TV channel that the march was not to destabilise the Government,but to appeal again to President Asif Ali Zardari to reinstate judges sacked during the 2007 Emergency.
By resisting the popular will, Sharif charged,Zardari was only shortening his political career. I dont think he will be able to complete his 5-year tenure.
Later in the day,media reports said that Zardari had buckled under domestic and international pressure and decided to lift Governors Rule in Punjab and allow the PML(N) to form a Government there.