AP NEWS

Pakistan steps up security ahead of rally in Islamabad

October 30, 2019
1 of 2
Supporters of Pakistani cleric Maulana Fazlur Rehman, head of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam listen to their leaders in Multan, Pakistan, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. Thousands of supporters of the ultra-conservative religious party gathered to start a large anti-government march on Pakistan's capital. (AP Photo/Asim Tanveer)
1 of 2
Supporters of Pakistani cleric Maulana Fazlur Rehman, head of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam listen to their leaders in Multan, Pakistan, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. Thousands of supporters of the ultra-conservative religious party gathered to start a large anti-government march on Pakistan's capital. (AP Photo/Asim Tanveer)

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani authorities are deploying police and putting shipping containers in the capital Islamabad ahead of the arrival of a massive anti-government protest caravan.

The measures Wednesday are aimed at stopping demonstrations from reaching the Red Zone, where government offices, parliament and foreign embassies are located.

They come as thousands of Islamists led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party, left for Islamabad in a caravan of cars and trucks from the eastern city of Lahore. The procession originally left Karachi on Sunday and is expected to reach Islamabad on Thursday.

Authorities in Islamabad have allocated a specific area for the rally.

Rehman wants Prime Minister Imran Khan to quit over his alleged failure in improving the country’s ailing economy. Khan has refused.