Pakistan's key oppositon party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf set out on its anti-government long march which has been termed by the party chairman Imran Khan as the "biggest freedom movement" in the country's history.
The country's Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has warned against any mob attacks, with Pakistan's top court earlier rejecting the government's plea for orders to immediately stop PTI's long march to the federal capital, reports The News.
Imran kicked off the protest march with an emotionally-charged speech, saying that the 'Haqeeqi Azadi Long March' was not for any personal or political interest to oust or to form a government but to liberate the country from the thieves who had seized power to get their corruption cases waived.
This is the PTI chair's second march towards Islamabad after he was ousted via a no-confidence motion earlier this year.
The political instability in Pakistan has also fuelled economic uncertainty, with international rating agencies questioning if the current government can maintain difficult economic policies in the face of political pressure and looming elections.
The long march started from Liberty Chowk in Lahore and will pass through Ferozepur Road, Icchra, Azadi Chowk, Mozang, Data Darbar side, and Muridke. It will enter the federal capital after passing through Kamonki, Gujranwala, Daska, Sumbrial, Lala Musa, Khariyan, Gujjar Khan and Rawalpindi.
Speaking to cheering crowds at Liberty Chowk, Imran said that unlike Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif he was "not a runaway who would either sit quietly here [in Pakistan] or criticise the military in London".
"I am not going to leave this country. I will live and die in this country," added the PTI chief.
"I want to see a Pakistan that is free, and to have a free country you need a powerful military," he said, adding that, "if your military is weakened then the country loses its freedom".
"So DG ISI sir, when we criticize you, we do constructive criticism; we do it for your own good," said Imran as he noted that "we do not wish to hurt our country".
"And I repeat myself," he continued, "I could say a lot more, I could even answer you back. But I do not want that the institutions of the country to be weakened".
The PTI chief then named into men who he claimed were military officials and had allegedly torture party leader Azam Swati, who was recently taken into custody by the Federal Investigation Authority's (FIA) cybercrime unit on 13 October for making 'controversial claims' against state institutions, including the army chief.