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Pakistan government splits protests, Khan marches on capital, Qadri blocked

Published on Aug 14, 2014 5:15 PM
 
Supporters of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan gather outside the residence of Imran before the start of their protest march against government in Lahore on Aug 14, 2014. Thousands of protesters began to march on the Pakistani capital from the eastern city of Lahore on Thursday, buoyed by a last-minute court order that a peaceful march could go ahead and a government promise to obey the ruling. -- PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE (REUTERS) - Thousands of protesters began to march on the Pakistani capital from the eastern city of Lahore on Thursday, buoyed by a last-minute court order that a peaceful march could go ahead and a government promise to obey the ruling.

The festive air at the home of cricketer-turned-opposition politician Imran Khan was in stark contrast to the grim determination at the blockaded home of cleric Tahir ul-Qadri, another would-be protest leader whose march has been banned.

Khan and Qadri are not officially allied though both are calling for the ouster of a government they condemn as corrupt, which came to power after a sweeping general election victory for the party of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last year.

"We are the ones who pose the biggest challenge to the government, that is why they are opposing us so strongly," Qadri's spokesman, Shahid Mursaleen, said late on Wednesday. "The police are killing us and our people only have sticks to protect themselves."

 
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