by Muhammad Tahir
ISLAMABAD Cheap Nike Odyssey React Womens , Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- The threat of a nationwide protest by the Tehrik-e-Insaf led by cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan has put pressure on the government of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Reports said Sharif has started consultations with senior political leaders and his close aides to explore options on how to deal with the impending anti-government march.
Khan has announced that his party will gather one million Pakistanis on August 14, the day when Pakistan will celebrate its Independence Day, in his bid to dislodge the government.
"The biggest protest in the history of Pakistan in Islamabad will demand the resignation of the Prime Minister and the holding of new elections," Khan told a news conference in Islamabad on Tuesday.
Khan said his supporters will stage a sit-in rally and his supporters will not leave the streets "until the monarchy of Nawaz Sharif is ended."
He said "long-march" in Islamabad on August 14 is named "Azadi March" or "Independence March".
Khan, whose PTI party rules the terrorism-hit northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, had previously called for investigation into what he claimed as a fraudulent parliamentary elections last year where Sharif's party won the most number of parliamentary seats.
Khan is now saying that since Sharif has won in a questionable election, he should be removed and a snap poll should be held as soon as possible.
Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League party had won in the May 2013 elections after which he formed the government.
Sharif has already served twice as the country's prime minister.
Sharif faces the first ever major political challenge just over two years of his government and at a time when he is struggling to deal with the threats of terrorism, violent extremism, worst energy crisis, poor law and order situation and an ailing economy.
Although the prime minister has ruled out any imminent danger to his government through the announced protest action, reports said he realized the mounting pressure on his government.
He has been involved in hectic consultations with leaders of major political parties and his advisers to ward off any political crisis.
Top leaders of several opposition parties, including the main opposition Pakistan People's Party, met the prime minister on Tuesday and reportedly advised him to deal squarely with the protests but to avoid the use of force.
Sharif, however, is confident that the protest movement against his government will fail since the major opposition parties have refused to support Khan.
However, some political observers are saying that the charismatic Imran Khan could still create problems for the government, especially when the government has failed to solve the country's problems particularly those involving security and economic issues.
In order to increase pressure, Khan has also indicated that his party members could resign from the national parliament to build up pressure on Sharif.
He is also talking about the dissolution of assembly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province ruled by his PTI party.
A religious scholar, Tahir-ul-Qadri, has also launched campaign against Nawaz Sharif and has hinted to join Khan's long-march.
Qadri, who runs a chain of religious seminaries in Pakistan and some other countries, has said he was willing to help bring about a "revolution" in Pakistan.
Another opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q), and some small religious groups, have also joined Qadri and Khan in the anti-government protest.
The government has tried to hold talks with Khan and Qadri to convince them to call off protests and come to the negotiation table to find out a solution but the two have rejected the government's move.
Sharif is now seeking the help of other parties to encourage his opponents to review their protests as such a move could further destabilize the country at a time when the security forces are fighting Taliban militants in North Waziristan tribal region.
Some political analysts are of the view that Nawaz Sharif's government should have acted earlier to address to the demands of Imran Khan, saying that his delayed response is now pushing the country to the brink of a political crisis.