First things first. It’s a beautiful day for it. Predictions that cold weather and perhaps rain would keep Tahir-ul-Qadri‘s followers away from Islamabad have given way to beautiful sunshine this morning.
Much of Islamabad is deserted. Police have thrown up a shipping container cordon around the Red Zone, sealing off diplomatic missions and government offices. This time around it seems to be a single layer – rather than the multiple barricades deployed during the Love of the Prophet Mohammed Day.
Constitution Avenue, above, is the target for demonstrators who want to hold a rally outside parliament.
Police are assembled already – including a hardy band of female officers – but don’t expect the protests to arrive until this afternoon, maybe late afternoon. So for now, they are enjoying the winter sun. The roads are empty but for a dedicated band of road sweepers and rubbish collectors.