ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Government on Thursday has banned all public gatherings in the federal capital for two months, setting the stage for confrontation ahead of a protest aimed at locking down the capital and unseating Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif.
The premier is under growing pressure from opposition parties over his children s offshore bank accounts that were revealed in the Panama Papers leak in April this year.
Former cricketer turned opposition leader Imran Khan, who is due to lead the protest on November 2, has demanded Sharif stand down over the revelations.
“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 ulQadri 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 about Sharif s family involvement on November 1.
The court will also decide whether to launch a criminal investigation.
Sharif-government s relationship with the army is also at low-ebb following the publication of a report this month that said civilian officials had clashed with the military over an issue.