Tahir-ul-Qadri leads huge demonstration in Pakistan third day in row, issues midnight deadline to govt

Qadri

A source privy to the development told PTI that an arrest warrants for Qadri had been issued by a local magistrate.

Authorities were awaiting a go-ahead from Interior Minister Rehman Malik to arrest Qadri , the source said.

"There have been deliberations on the issue and, at the moment, the government is in two minds - whether to start negotiations with Qadri or arrest him," the source said.

The source said a decision in this regard was expected sometime soon.

Other sources said Qadri and the others were booked under provisions of the law related to attempted murder, interfering in the functioning of the government, snatching weapons from the police disturbing the peace.

Both the ruling Pakistan People's Party and main opposition PML-N are blaming each other for providing "safe passage" to Qadri for his "long march" from Lahore to Islamabad, a move that has allowed the cleric to dictate terms to the authorities.

"Why did the Punjab government not detain Qadri at his residence in Lahore? It is common knowledge that his Tehrik Minhaj-ul-Quran party does not have a second or third tier leadership.

"If he had been placed under house arrest, hardly a few hundred of his supporters would have come out on the streets," said a PPP member of the provincial assembly of Punjab, which is ruled by the PML-N.

The PML-N's suspicions that PPP was interested in delaying the general election scheduled for May might have led to a "wrong decision", the PPP leader said.

The leader further said the miscalculation of the PML-N government in Punjab could have repercussions for democracy.

"Had the PML-N leaders trusted the PPP and made a joint strategy to deal with Qadri 's threats, he could have been stopped. Trust deficit between the two parties is the prime reason behind the current situation," he said.

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