Lahore, Jan 17 (PTI) Firebrand cleric and the leader of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Tahir ul Qadri and top opposition leaders today kicked off a movement to “force the PML-N out of power both in the centre and provinces” with a sit-in on the busy Mall Road here.

Qadri, who arrived at the venue this evening, was welcomed by a large crowd of supporters and prominent leaders from multiple political parties including Pakistan Tehreek-i- Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

Former president Asif Ali Zardari was slated to address the crowd before evening prayers, allowing PTI chief Imran Khan to take over after the latter’s party refused to share a stage with the top PPP leader, Dawn reported.

The chiefs of PTI, PPP, Jamaat-i-Islami and the PML-Q had yesterday reaffirmed their pledge to be part of the inaugural rally on the Mall Road.

Earlier in the day, the Lahore High Court granted permission to PAT to go ahead with its anti-government sit-in, but with certain conditions including ending the sit-in by midnight.

The court has also barred the media to cover the rally after midnight.

It instructed the Lahore police to provide full security to the sit-in and also allowed the provincial government to take action if the sit-in gets violent.

Meanwhile, the PAT workers transported a container, hundreds of chairs, large screens to show documentaries of the Model Town incident, and a sound system to the venue.

Superintendent of Police Security Ammara Athar said the venue would have three-tier security, with more than 6,500 policemen and 1,500 wardens being assigned duties. This would be in addition to three companies of the Punjab Rangers, who would be manning vulnerable points along the venue.

An upward of 40 walk-through gates would be used and six entry points were finalised, one of these for women participants, she said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.