Will Govt Crackdown Derail Pakistan’s Long March?

Protesters Set to Begin 5 Day March to Islamabad

Despite claims from the Deputy Chairman of Planning that the government intends to stop the rally “at all costs” and the Punjab Home Secretary saying the army would be called in, organizers say Pakistan’s long-awaited “long march” will go ahead as planned tomorrow.

The march is planned to begin tomorrow in several cities and continue through the weekend, culminating in everyone meeting in the capital of Islamabad on Monday and a mass sit-in along Constitution Avenue for an indefinite period of time. The government has objected to the location: a key avenue full of government buildings, and demanded that the final destination be changed.

And while the mass arrests of 300 key opposition figures has cast somewhat an ominous tone over the whole event, former Punjabi Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif points to the sit-in, and particularly to Tuesday, March 17 as a key day in Pakistani history, when its populace will witness the dawn of a new era. Before that can happen, the protesters will have several days of marching and a lot of government opposition ahead of them.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.