Protests march towards Islamabad as Pakistan’s political crisis escalates
A protest march led by Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan began its journey from the eastern city of Lahore to the capital of Islamabad on Friday, with the intent of forcing the government to hold elections sooner than next August. The march is scheduled to last eight days, arriving in Islamabad on November 4th.
The government has said the protestors arriving in Islamabad after their 236-mile hike will be barred from entry, Al Jazeera reports. Since being removed from office in a vote of no confidence in April, Khan has planned protests around the country, and he has previously threatened massive marches to hurry the country’s electoral cycle.
This week’s call to march came after Khan was barred from completing his current term in parliament by the country’s electoral commission. In a ruling last week, the commission found Khan guilty of profiting by selling gifts he was given by heads of state when he was prime minister. The conviction paves the way for future rulings that could disqualify Khan from holding any political office, though it remains unclear whether the commission has the authority to remove Khan from his current seat, let alone nix his future ambitions, the New York Times reports.