LAHORE - The March 15, 2009 would be remembered in the history of Lahore as a major event of the long march takeoff to Islamabad since 1977. This long march is different from that of 2007's when it was purely a lawyers' movement. The City has never witnessed such a fully-charged and politically-motivated big crowd after 1977 which had brought a change in the government. The then powerful Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his government that came to power in the wake of 1977 elections had to wind up with the imposition of Martial Law by Gen Ziaul Haq. The March 15 rally at GPO Chowk and at the residence of Nawaz Sharif at Model Town and his march in procession to Islamabad for a sit-in at Shahrah-e-Dastur there was unprecedented. Not only the PML-N and allied parties but also the general public walked shoulder-to-shoulder with others from his Model Town residence through Ferozepur Road to GPO and Data Darbar. The police had initially put barricades, barbed wires and containers to block the way with arrest warrants ready, but they had to withdraw as the people converged at GPO Chowk and Model Town in large numbers defying orders and despite hurdles. They turned violent as the police resorted to teargas and lathi-charge to disperse them. Ultimately, the police had to retreat as a result of stone-throwing, bonfire and arson by the mob because any retaliation could have led to the worst armed clash with the police. The situation would have further aggravated if the police had not withdrawn instantaneously. As the police withdrew, the demonstrators removed hurdles to clear their way. Perhaps the government policy-planners smelt remnants of 1977 movement which got out of control due to use of brute force. One of the then players, Jama'at-e-Islami, remained in the vanguard of March 15, 2009 movement. After 1977, the city had witnessed the worst-ever demonstration and protest by the PPP against judicial killing of late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on April 4, 1977 when cases of self-immolation and large arrests occurred. The Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD), launched by the PPP and its allies against then dictator Ziaul Haq, had been reached its peak in early 80s but that too could not attract as much people on the roads as in 1977 and 1979 and now against civil dictator. However, thousands of people gathered in the City to welcome Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto on her return from the exile during Ziaul Haq regime in 1986. Ziaul Haq had allowed her to come back and there was no resistance from anywhere. Later, Jama'at-e-Islami mobilised the people in 1993 against the Sharifs government but failed to yield any results. The 1977 movement had been a reaction to rigging of the elections although it was on small scale which however transformed into a movement for the enforcement of Nizam-e-Mustafa with the participation of religious activists in the movement - rather it was conflict between the Islamists and exponents of socialism and secularism in the country. Army had to be called in to crush the PNA movement but this was not the case to block the long march. In 1977, lawyers then were part of the movement of political parties and now they are in the vanguard. A small group of lawyers then led by Hakam Qureshi marched in queue obeying Section 144 from the Lahore High Court to Punjab Assembly where the session was in progress and they were intercepted at Regal by straight fire shots by the Police. The Lohari, Bhatti, Muslim Masjid, Jamia Ashrafia, Mansoorah, Nila Gumbad, Sheranwala Gate, Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam, etc., were the major spots of public-police clash in the city. Now, the hotspots were Model Town, Ferozepur Road, Lytton Road, GPO, Lower Mall, etc.