LAHORE: Thousands came out on roads to join the lawyers’ long march for the reinstatement of all the deposed judges sacked in 2007. According to media reports, people of Lahore welcomed the call of Long March and overwhelmingly poured on streets defying all the barriers and containers placed overnight by the police on almost all the major arteries of the city to restrict the protesters from commencing the rallies.
Provincial government had also announced to celebrate “Basant” throughout the province on the dates coinciding with those scheduled for the march, apparently aimed to distract people’s attention from the protest movement. However, the call went in vain as Lahore cheered the marchers and echoed with anti-government slogans instead of “Bo Kata”, the traditional Basant’s catchword.
A mass rally is presently marching on the roads of outskirts of provincial metropolis in the leadership of former Prime Minister and chief of Pakistan Muslim League Mian Nawaz Sharif. It is speculated that Nawaz will address the protesters at some point and will formally announce to commence the march towards Islamabad.
Meanwhile, the central rally of Long March has left the premises of Lahore High Court and now has started its journey towards Islamabad where the organizers have announced to stage sit-in till the restoration of all the deposed judges, including Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry who was sacked by former military ruler General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf two years ago.
Former presidents of Supreme Court Bar Association Aitzaz Ahsan and Justice (Retd) Tariq Mehmood are leading the rally along with Naib Amir Jamaat-e-Islami Liaquat Baloch and other political figures. Thousands of activists of Jamaat-e-Islami, PML-N, Tehreek-e-Insaf and other opposition parties are present in the two rallies besides lawyers, civil society activists and common folks who came on streets to greet the participants of Long March.
It is likely that the two rallies will intermingle when the marchers would reach in the outskirts of Lahore. It was said that the rally would take G.T. Road for its journey to Islamabad.Surprisingly, police and other law enforcement agencies’ personnel who had completely sealed the city on Saturday night and was severally torturing, firing tear gas and detaining political activists and lawyers in the city till noon today are now offering no resistance to the Long March.
Earlier, Nawaz Sharif on Sunday noon began to lead a big procession march from his residence in Lahore defying the detention order from the government. While addressing his supporters in Lahore, Sharif demanded removal of barriers on the way to Islamabad and warned that the party workers will remove them.
Sharif said that police can not suppress the spirit behind the movement which they have launched for independence of judiciary. Sharif refused to abide by the detention order conveyed to him by the local administration.
On the other hand police clashed with the protesters in the metropolis on Sunday. It fired tear-gas shell to disperse the protesters, while the protesters threw stones to police in Lahore, the PML-N’s power center.-SANA