There has been a bit of friction, rather heatedly between Tahirul Qadri and the PML-N spokesperson Senator Pervaiz Rasheed. Complaining that the Punjab government was trying to coerce his followers into giving up the march Mr Qadri warned that if strong-arm tactics were used to stop them, their fury would turn on Lahore itself. Senator Rahseed argued that Mr Qardi was afraid that his sit-in could fail.

These skirmishes, first of all ought to have been avoided. In fact, they should be because there are avoidable. If the leaders say that they believe in the judgement of the people, then they should have confidence in that power. Not long ago, Mian Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif stated emphatically that they would not try to stop the march but it appears that since they had an understanding with the PPP, they changed their mind. The sane approach is to let the march move to the federal capital and let it settle scores with the PPP government. If the passage is blocked, chances are that it would further exacerbate the situation by flaring up the marchers and could even get out of Mr Qadri’s control who has promised to maintain discipline. Democracy permits freedom of expression, and the freedom to assemble. Snatching that right, the constitution tells us, would be disreputable.