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Pakistan protesters set for showdown with government

Published on Jan 15, 2013 10:29 AM
Supporters of Mr Muhammad Tahirul Qadri, leader of Mihaj-ul-Quran, sit next to his poster as they wait for his arrival during a protest in Islamabad on Monday. Thousands of Pakistanis converged on the capital on Monday to join a march planned by Sufi cleric Qadri calling for the indefinite delay of elections and a crackdown on government corruption and inefficiency. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - A cleric leading thousands of protesters was set for a showdown with the Pakistani government on Tuesday after marching on Islamabad to demand a peaceful "revolution" and the dissolution of parliament.

Mr Tahir-ul Qadri, 61, delivered an ultimatum in an overnight address to supporters in the heavily fortified capital following a 38-hour march from the eastern city of Lahore that attracted tens of thousands of supporters en route.

Mr Qadri told his followers to camp out overnight, despite chilly temperatures of eight degrees Celsius, and to advance after daybreak towards parliament, which has been barricaded off with shipping containers.

"I advise the administration, government employees and security forces don't be afraid... By tomorrow the government will have been changed, so don't worry, I have come here to free you from this slavery," he said.

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