Pakistan Ehtesab March

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Pakistan Ehtesab March (Urdu: پاکستان احتساب مارچ‎), was the public protest march held in Pakistan after the startling revelations in the Panama Papers.[1] This was in fact a series of rallies against the Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, over the claims of corruption of the Sharif Family in the wake of Panama Papers. The march initially began on 7 August 2016 from Peshawar.[2] The march was organised by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.

Background

Following exposure of offshore companies of Prime Minister's children in the Panama Papers published by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Imran Khan's political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) started demanding the resignation of Mian Nawaz Sharif.[3] Imran Khan, in many of his interviews and addresses termed that Prime Minister has lost the moral authority to run the government due to his children being named in the Panam Papers.[4] The opposition also demanded the Government organizations National Accountability Bureau, Federal Investigation Agency, Election Commission of Pakistan to start investigations in this regard for disqualification of the Prime Minister.[5] The Government Organization's inaction in this regard led the PTI to organise rallies and demonstrations throughout Pakistan.

Protest Jalsas in various cities

On 31 July 2016, in a press conference, Imran Khan said that they will have to make a choice between a "corrupt government" and "strong democracy".[6] He hinted at starting a march against Prime Minister. "The march will be a defining moment in the history of Pakistan," he said. However, the protest will not end there but the movement will continue for weeks in several different cities across the country.

The Peshawar Protest

On Sunday, 7 August 2016 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by Imran Khan held the first Ehtesab rally kicking off from Peshawar and culminating at Attock Bridge. However, when they reached Kohat a large number of protesters belonging to PML-N, burning tyres on roads at four different points, came face to face with participants of PTI rally, compelling Khan's supporters to change their route.[7][8]

In Islamabad

On, 13 August 2016 PTI led crowd gathered to register their protest against the Government. PTI Chairman urged the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take suo moto notice of revelations made in Panama Leaks regarding offshore wealth of the ruling family.The PML-N leaders later criticised Imran Khan and said that fewer number of people in the rally shows Imran Khan is losing his support in the country due to his politics of rallies and protests.[9][10]

Jhelum Bye-Election [1]

The Election Commission of Pakistan barred Imran Khan to hold rally in Jhelum due to the bye-elections to be held on 31 August 2016. But Imran Khan did not follow the instructions and attended the jalsa. Huge number of people gathered to welcome Imran Khan, who badly criticised PML-N and Election Commission of Pakistan for its biasness towards PML-N Government. Despite defeat in the elections, the huge number of votes cast for PTI candidate, geared PTI for further rallies.

Lahore rally

PTI, in an astonishing move, invited Pakistan Peoples Party, which it had earlier criticised time and again over the alleged corruption scandals, to attend the Ehtesab rally On 3 September 2016.[11] Imran Khan again demanded PM’s resignation over Panama papers link, in his speech in the rally from Shahdra Town to Chairing Cross.[12] Khan also asked FBR and NAB to take notice of the Panama papers and take action against the ruling PML-N. On the same day, Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, a scholar of Sufism along with an outspoken politician Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad also held a rally called Qasas Rally[13][14] in the Rawalpindi city interlinked with Islamabad, the capital city. Huge number of people gathered in Lahore rally and Rawalpindi for the protest. Whole of Rawalpindi was containerized at many junctions on the day to stop any bad incident. There were reports of two deaths due to the protests and road blockages due to containers. The Government minister lashed out at PTI for its politics and blamed a huge loss to economy on PTI.[15] Along with the street movement PTI also filed references against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the ECP and office of the Speaker, National Assembly. While the party also submitted a petition in Supreme Court of Pakistan.[16] [17] [18]

References

  1. ^ "The Power Players".
  2. ^ "PTI launches Ehtesab march from Peshawar".
  3. ^ "Panama Papers Leak: Imran Khan Demands PM Nawaz Sharif's Resignation". NDTV. 10 Apr 2016.
  4. ^ GHUMMAN, KHAWAR (11 Apr 2016). "Imran calls for PM's resignation". Dawn.
  5. ^ Khan, Raza (8 April 2016). "Opposition demands 'forensic audit firm' probe Panama Papers revelations". Dawn.com.
  6. ^ "Imran Khan to launch march on 7th August from Peshawar - ARY NEWS".
  7. ^ "Khan leading Ehtesab rally from Peshawar to Attock - SAMAA TV".
  8. ^ Shah, Sadia Qasim; Kakakhel, Suhail (8 August 2016). "The match is about to begin, says Imran".
  9. ^ "Tehreek-e-Ehtesab: PTI to hold Rawalpindi to Islamabad rally". 12 August 2016.
  10. ^ "Imran Khan leads Rawalpindi-Islamabad rally - SAMAA TV".
  11. ^ "Panamagate scandal: PTI invites PPP to September 3 Lahore rally - The Express Tribune". 31 August 2016.
  12. ^ "Imran Khan demands PM's resignation over Panama papers link - ARY NEWS".
  13. ^ "Sheikh Rasheed issues challenge to Nawaz in fiery speech".
  14. ^ "Qadri wants government to open Rawalpindi, assures peaceful protest - ARY NEWS".
  15. ^ "PTI rally caused Rs4b losses: Pervaiz Rashid - The Express Tribune". 4 September 2016.
  16. ^ "NA Speaker rejects all four references against PM Nawaz - Pakistan - Dunya News".
  17. ^ "NA speaker turns the tables on PTI - The Express Tribune". 6 September 2016.
  18. ^ "SC rejects PTI petition against PM Nawaz - Pakistan - Dunya News".
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