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Pakistani cleric will be allowed to march on capital: police

DemonstrationPolitical DissentNawaz Sharif

MULTAN Pakistan (Reuters) - A fiery Pakistani cleric will be allowed to lead his supporters on an anti-government protest march to the capital, a senior policeman said on Thursday, reversing an earlier government decision.

Tahir ul-Qadri has spent the last week inside his home in the eastern city of Lahore after security officials cordoned the area off, blocking roads with barbed wire and shipping containers.

Qadri has vowed to bring down the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, which he says is corrupt, by the end of the month.

The government, apparently hoping to stop Qadri's supporters linking up with those of another anti-government protest leader, former cricketer Imran Khan, had earlier blocked Qadri's plan to lead his supporters from Lahore to Islamabad, beginning on Thursday.

But a provincial police chief, Inspector General Mushtaq Sukhera, said the ban had now been lifted and a spokesman for Qadri said in a text message that the cleric and his supporters were setting off for Islamabad.

(Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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