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Tens of thousands gather as anti-government protest convoys reach Pakistan's capital

  • Pakistan-140

    Supporters of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan stop from entering to Islamabad, as being blocked by authorities, Thursday, Aug 14, 2014 in Pakistan. Roads leading to the capital are being blocked in run up to announced protests by Khan and anti-government cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri. Both men want the government to step down and new elections to be held. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

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  • Pakistan-voter-fraud

    Thousands of opposition protesters on Thursday joined large convoys headed to Pakistan's capital Islamabad for a mass rally to demand the ouster of the prime minister over allegations of vote fraud.

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  • Pakistan-142

    One of the supporters of Pakistan's ruling party throws a rock on a procession of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan in Gujranwala, Pakistan, Friday, Aug. 15, 2014. Dozens of members of Pakistan’s ruling party threw stones and shoes at a truck carrying a popular opposition leader Khan Friday, as he was on the road for the second day to travel to the capital, Islamabad, for a rally meant to pressure the country’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign over allegations of rigging last year’s parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

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  • Pakistan-143

    Pakistani anti-goverment cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, center, gestures ahead of a march to Islamabad from Lahore, Pakistan, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Thousands of opposition protesters on Thursday joined large convoys headed to Pakistan's capital Islamabad for a mass rally to demand the ouster of the prime minister over allegations of vote fraud. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

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  • Pakistan-Independence-Day

    People get their faces painted with colors of the Pakistani flag to celebrate the Independence Day on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Karachi, Pakistan. Pakistanis commemorated its independence from British colonial rule in 1947. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil)

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  • Pakistan-144

    Supporters of Pakistan's cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, in green shirts, clash with supporters of ruling party in Gujranwala, Pakistan Friday, Aug. 15, 2014. Dozens of members of Pakistan’s ruling party threw stones and shoes at a truck carrying a popular opposition leader Imran Khan Friday as he was on road for the second day to travel to the capital, Islamabad, for a rally meant to pressure the country’s prime minister to resign over allegations of rigging last year’s parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

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  • Pakistan-145

    Supporters of Pakistan's cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan march towards Islamabad, Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 in Gujranwala, Pakistan. Dozens of members of Pakistan’s ruling party threw stones and shoes at a truck carrying a popular opposition leader Imran Khan Friday as he was on road for the second day to travel to the capital, Islamabad, for a rally meant to pressure the country’s prime minister to resign over allegations of rigging last year’s parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

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  • Pakistan-146

    Supporters of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan gather at one of the entrances to Islamabad, Pakistan, to receive their leader Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Thousands of Pakistani opposition supporters on Thursday joined a large convoy headed to the capital, Islamabad, for a key rally to demand the ouster of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over allegations of vote fraud. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

Pakistan-voter-fraud

Thousands of opposition protesters on Thursday joined large convoys headed to Pakistan's capital Islamabad for a mass rally to demand the ouster of the prime minister over allegations of vote fraud.

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ISLAMABAD — Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters have gathered in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad following the arrival of convoys led by a cricket star-turned-politician and a fiery anti-Taliban cleric.

The twin protests led by Imran Khan and the cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri represent the biggest challenge yet to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s year-old government. The protesters left the eastern city of Lahore on Thursday, vowing to camp out until their demands for a new government are met.

They remained on the road for two days before entering Islamabad shortly before midnight. Police estimate the crowd at 60,000 people.

Sharif says he is ready to meet with his opponents but has given no indication that he would step down. His critics accuse him of vote fraud during the election that brought him to power a year ago.

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