Pakistan’s political scene took a new turn on Wednesday when supporters of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahir-ul Qadri started to pack their bags and make their way out of Islamabad after their leader called off the protest sit-in which had stretched for 69 days.
“I announce the end of the sit-in at the D-Chowk,” Qadri told his supporters. He said that the sit-in had morphed into a revolution which will spread to each and every corner of the country.
Addressing the thousands of men, women and children who have followed him to Islamabad to unseat the Sharif government, he said, “I allow you to pack your belongings and proceed towards your homes. God bless you.”
It is still unclear what conditions had been set by Qadri and accepted by the government under which he announced his decision to end the dharna but the PAT leader insisted that no deal had been struck.
In response to the Qadri decision, PM Nawaz Sharif directed members of his party to show grace and not to pass any negative comments against PAT workers and leaders.
The decision puts pressure on Imran Khan and his party to also wind up their protest. But on Wednesday Imran Khan rejected any proposal to end the protest against the Sharif government.
“I will not leave this container unless there is an independent inquiry into rigging in the 2013 general elections,” Khan said.