Pakistan Ehtesab March

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Pakistan Ehtesab March (Urdu: پاکستان احتساب مارچ) was a public protest march organized by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in response to the Panama Papers in 2016. A series of rallies were held against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, over the claims of corruption of the Sharif family. The march began on 7 August 2016 from Peshawar.[1]

Background[edit]

The Panama Papers revealed offshore holdings of former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif's children. The expose, published by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Imran Khan and his party demanded Sharif's resignation.[2] In many of his interviews and speeches, Khan stated that Sharif had lost the moral authority to run the government.[3] The opposition demanded that the National Accountability Bureau, Federal Investigation Agency, and the Election Commission of Pakistan investigate Sharif for disqualification.[4] The Government's inaction led the PTI to organise rallies and demonstrations across Pakistan.

Protests[edit]

On 31 July 2016, in a press conference, Khan said that the country would have to make a choice between a "corrupt government" and "strong democracy".[5] He hinted at starting a march against the Prime Minister. "The march will be a defining moment in the history of Pakistan," he said. However, the protest continued for weeks in several cities.

Peshawar protest[edit]

On Sunday, 7 August 2016, PTI held the first Ehtesab rally kicking off from Peshawar and culminating at Attock Bridge. However, when they reached Kohat, protesters belonging to PML-N began burning tyres on roads at four points. They came face to face with participants of the PTI rally, compelling Khan's supporters to change their route.[6][7]

Islamabad[edit]

On, 13 August 2016 the PTI-led crowd gathered to protest against the Government. Khan urged the Supreme Court to take notice of the revelations regarding the offshore wealth of the ruling family. PML-N leaders later criticised Khan and said that the small crowd showed that Khan was losing support.[8]

Jhelum by-election[edit]

The Election Commission of Pakistan barred Imran Khan from holding a rally in Jhelum due to the by-election scheduled to be held on 31 August 2016. But Khan did not follow the instructions and attended the jalsa. A huge number of people gathered to welcome Imran Khan, who heavily criticised PML-N and the Election Commission of Pakistan for its bias towards the PML-N Government. Despite defeat in the elections, the huge number of votes cast for the PTI candidate geared PTI for further rallies.[9]

Lahore rally[edit]

On 30 August 2016, PTI invited Pakistan Peoples Party, which it had endlessly criticised over the alleged corruption scandals, to attend the Ehtesab rally.[10] Moreover, Khan again demanded the PM’s resignation.[11] Khan also asked FBR and NAB to take notice of the Panama papers and take action against the ruling PML-N. On the same day, Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, a scholar of Sufism, along with outspoken politician Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad, held a rally called Qasas Rally in Rawalpindi.[12][13] Crowds gathered in Lahore and Rawalpindi and there were reports of two deaths due to the protests and road blockages. Pervaiz Rashid, the Information Minister, lashed out at PTI for its politics and blamed PTI for causing a huge loss to the economy.[14] Along with the street movement, PTI filed references against Sharif in the ECP and office of the Speaker of the National Assembly. The party also submitted a petition to the Supreme Court, which was rejected on 30 August 2016.[15][16][17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'The match is about to begin': PTI's Ehtesab rally kicks off in Peshawar". Dawn. 7 August 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  2. ^ "Panama Papers Leak: Imran Khan Demands PM Nawaz Sharif's Resignation". NDTV. 10 April 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  3. ^ Ghumman, Khawar (11 April 2016). "Imran calls for PM's resignation". Dawn. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  4. ^ Khan, Raza (8 April 2016). "Opposition demands 'forensic audit firm' probe Panama Papers revelations". Dawn. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  5. ^ "Imran Khan to launch march on 7th August from Peshawar". ARY News. 31 July 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  6. ^ "Khan leading Ehtesab rally from Peshawar to Attock". Samaa TV. 7 August 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  7. ^ Kakakhail, Suhail; Shah, Sadia Qasim (8 August 2016). "The match is about to begin, says Imran". Dawn. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  8. ^ "Imran Khan leads Rawalpindi-Islamabad rally". Samaa TV. 13 August 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  9. ^ "NA 63 Jhelum Bye Election Result 2016". www.electionpakistani.com. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  10. ^ "Panamagate scandal: PTI invites PPP to September 3 Lahore rally". The Express Tribune. 30 August 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  11. ^ "Imran Khan demands PM's resignation over Panama papers link". ARY News. 3 September 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  12. ^ "Sheikh Rasheed issues challenge to Nawaz in fiery speech". The News International. 4 September 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  13. ^ "Qadri wants government to open Rawalpindi, assures peaceful protest". ARY News. 3 September 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  14. ^ Sikander, Sardar; Usman, Ali (3 September 2016). "PTI rally caused Rs4b losses: Pervaiz Rashid". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  15. ^ "NA Speaker rejects all four references against PM Nawaz". Dunya News. 5 September 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  16. ^ Hussain, Danish; Zaman, Qamar (5 September 2016). "NA speaker turns the tables on PTI". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  17. ^ "SC rejects PTI petition against PM Nawaz". Dunya News. 30 August 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2022.