Pakistan’s hard-line cleric Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Friday gave Prime Minister Imran Khan a two-day ultimatum to resign, saying he must step down without testing the patience of peaceful protestors. Opposition parties are accusing him of "rigging" the 2018 general elections. The crowd further swelled in Islamabad, as supporters of opposition parties, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People Party (PPP), joined the anti-government protest rally.
Rehman said only people of Pakistan and not any "institution" had the right to govern the country. He also called a multi-party conference at his residence here to decide the future strategy against the government.
Pakistan People's Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari; Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chairman Mehmood Khan Achakzai; Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Ahsan Iqbal and Khawaja Asif and Awami National Party (ANP) general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain attended the meeting.
Meanwhile, JUI-F leader Mufti Kifayatullah has been released from Haripur Central Jail and has left for Islamabad to participate in the march.
Rehman launched the "Azadi March" along with leaders of other opposition parties on October 27 from the southern Sindh province. He was scheduled to arrive in Islamabad on October 31. However, it was delayed due to Lahore train fire tragedy.
The protesters have encamped in the sprawling ground near Peshawar Mor area where different political parties have set up their camps to house their workers.
Meanwhile, Pakistani authorities have made elaborate security arrangements to control the sea of protesters. Main roads have been completely or partially blocked by placing shipping containers. Barbed wires have been used as hurdles to prevent protesters if they try to move towards the Red Zone that includes key official buildings and diplomatic enclave.
The Islamabad local administration requisitioned 111 Brigade in the highly secured Red Zone, which houses sensitive buildings like Parliament House, Supreme Court, Foreign Office, Pakistan Television, Radio Pakistan and Diplomatic Enclave (a cluster of dozens of foreign embassies).