Pakistani minister warns of Taliban threat to reforms rally

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January 9, 2013

An influential religious leader in Pakistan has vowed to lead a "long march" protest on the capital from the eastern city of Lahore if the government fails to begin electoral reforms. Now Taliban militants have threatened to attack a rally.

January 9, 2013

An influential religious leader in Pakistan has vowed to lead a "long march" protest on the capital from the eastern city of Lahore if the government fails to begin electoral reforms. Now Taliban militants have threatened to attack a rally.

Pakistani Muslim scholar Tahir-ul Qadri addresses a rally in Karachi on January 1, 2013

Taliban militants have threatened to attack a rally for election reforms, to be held in Islamabad next week, Pakistani interior minister Rehman Malik said on Monday.

Tahir-ul Qadri, an influential religious leader, vowed last month that he would lead a "long march" protest on the capital from the eastern city of Lahore if the government fails to begin electoral reforms within three weeks.

"Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has threatened to attack the long march," Malik told reporters in a joint press conference with Qadri.

"But we will not stop the long march and provide them full security," Malik said.

No spokesman for TTP, the Taliban umbrella militant group, was immediately available for comment.

Qadri vowed that he would not budge from his mission and would stage the planned protest in Islamabad.

"Long march will take place on January 14 God willing and it will remain peaceful," Qadri said.

"Our mission is to strengthen democracy and pave the way for free and fair elections as enshrined in the constitution," he said, adding that he was opposed to any delay in the elections due in May this year.

Qadri leads a group called Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran — the movement to follow the path of the Koran — which has a network of religious and educational institutions.


Courtesy: AFP

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