Pakistan: Thousands attend Imran Khan's 'thanksgiving rally'

AP News
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Posted: Nov 02, 2016 3:16 PM
Pakistan: Thousands attend Imran Khan's 'thanksgiving rally'

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Tens of thousands of supporters of Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan attended a mammoth "thanksgiving rally" in the capital on Wednesday to celebrate a court ruling which requires the country's prime minister to respond to allegations of financial impropriety.

The rally came a day after the Supreme Court, acting on petitions from Khan and several others, discussed establishing an independent commission to determine whether premier Nawaz Sharif and his family members were involved holding offshore bank accounts.

In his speech, Khan said he hoped that Sharif would not be in power next month. "Listen Nawaz Sharif, you will have to resign soon," he said, addressing an estimated 25,000 people, mostly young women and men, at an Islamabad park.

"Go, Nawaz! Go!" was among the slogans they chanted.

The rally comes a day before the court is set to resume hearing petitions seeking Sharif's resignation. The premier has faced mounting public pressure to step down since some of his relatives were named as holders of offshore bank accounts in leaked financial documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Sharif says neither he nor any of his family members are involved in corruption.

Khan, a former cricketer, had threatened to paralyze the capital Wednesday with mass protests. But he retracted that call on Tuesday, asking his supporters to rally in an Islamabad park and await the result of the court hearings.

Last month, with Khan's protest looming, Pakistani authorities banned all demonstrations in the capital. Khan's supporters have been clashing with police in Islamabad for several days. Earlier on Wednesday, nearly 2000 of them were released from detention.

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Associated Press writer Munir Ahmed contributed to this story.