ISLAMABAD - Speaking to a sea of people at the Pakistani ‘Tahrir Square’ at 2am today (Tuesday), Dr Tahirul Qadri announced that their long march is over and revolution has begun.Tahirul Qadri was chauffeured in a sleek black car and showered with pink rose petals while his vehicle inched its way towards a stage on one of the main thoroughfares in Islamabad, following a 38-hour march from the eastern city of Lahore.He said morally now all the assemblies stand dissolved and governments stand vanished but gave a nine-hour deadline to the government to get the provincial and central assembles dissolved formally.Dr Qadri said the long march which had started on January 13 has ended ‘now’ (on January 15 at around 2am) after a hard travel of 38 hours. He congratulated the participants of the long march and all the people of the country at the grand show, claiming it to be ‘the biggest march in the history of world’.He said he was waiting for ‘one million’ people who have been left behind due to the hindrances created and were still on the way to join this ‘revolutionary gathering’.He said Interior Minister Rehman Malik had made a ‘gentleman promise’ with him of allowing them to gather at D-Chowk. And he will not address them there near the Stock Exchange building at the Quaid-i-Azam Avenue but in front of the Parliament.“It’s there I will hold the parliament of the masses. My revolutionary comrades, I give you five minutes to shift to the original venue we had decided. From now on the all the government has vanished and now President Zardari is no more a president; call him former president of Pakistan henceforth. The PM is now the ex-PM and so are the ministers.”“The mandate people had given you in the elections, they have taken it back now through this unprecedented protest demonstration. Morley, your government and the assemblies stand dissolved. But I give members of federal and provincial assemblies time until 9am (on Tuesday) to come and formerly dissolve the assemblies.”“The chief minister of all the provinces and prime minister of the country must send to the president their formal requests for dissolution of their government,” Qadri said. He took an oath from the people not go to homes until the revolution is completed. He said he will ‘formally’ address the protesters at 11am.He said those who doubt the huge number of this gathering they must get on to helicopters and see themselves this sea of 4 to 5 billion people. He also warned Pemra to reopen all the TV channels.Earlier, journeying through a long cold night and a day of warm welcomes on the way, the caravan of ‘state saviours’ led by Dr Tahirul Qadri reached the gates of Islamabad in the early hours of Monday night. As tens of thousands of cleric’s staunch followers and others streamed towards the capital, the fearful silence was broken by slogans of revolution, though Interior Minister Rehman Malik reiterated that threat of terrorist attack on the rally persisted.Most of those at home were glued to their television screens as they saw their fellow citizens vowing to stay in Islamabad till they secure the ouster of ‘corrupt rulers’ under the leadership of Dr Qadri.Upon reaching in the city outskirts at around 10pm, the Tehreek Minhajul Quran (TMQ) chief boosted the morale of the participants in a brief motivational address and asked them go ahead with their defined plan of bringing change in the system and to introduce the real and benevolent democracy in the country.The frontline vehicles of the procession had started reaching at the city entry point by 8pm and by 11:30pm the procession had started entering the venue, in front of Islamabad Stock Exchange at Jinnah Avenue, and the long queue of vehicles was still dropping in even after 1am.The interior ministry officials claimed the TMQ leadership and signed a nine-point agreement with Islamabad administration undertaking to remain peaceful during the event, keep away from the high security Red Zone and to refrain from chanting anti-state slogans and hate speeches. They said the march organisers had also agreed to change the TMQ’s earlier declared venue of D Chowk, near the Parliament House, to the one at Jinnah Avenue.Tahirul Qadri, who returned to his homeland last month after years in Toronto, has been accused by some of trying to sow political chaos ahead of elections. He accuses the government of being corrupt and incompetent, and says polls cannot be held until key reforms are enacted.Qadri wants a caretaker government to be set up in consultation with the military and judiciary when parliament disbands in mid-March, and is calling for reform so that “honest people” can be elected at polls due by mid-May. As it stands, the interim government is due to be formed in consultation between the major opposition and ruling parties.Earlier, a sizeable crowed that had already gathered at the Quaid-i-Azam Avenue several hours before arrival of the caravan seemed in high spirits and despite chilling cold the people kept sitting on the venue waving Pakistani flags and chanting slogans in favour of ‘change’ and Dr Qadri. The stage was erected about 200 feet from the crowd and a bulletproof glass cabin was fixed there from where TMQ chief was to address the participants of the long march and spell out his future course of action.It was a chilly night as the mercury had dropped to 9 degree Celsius by midnight and was expected to fall to just 3 degrees. Taking notice of the presence of women and children in the long march, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf directed Islamabad Commissioner to contact the march organisers and offer them government assistance for extending comfort to them. In a statement, the PM said the government was prepared to extend all possible assistance to the protesters against the cold weather.The significance of the rally will hinge on the turnout and whether, God forbid, there is any violence. There was no fair estimate of the number participants available but media refuted TMQ chief’s claim that he had gathered millions of people. However, conservative estimates too put it at well over a hundred thousand people. But most observers were left speechless when the protesters from around the capital kept pouring in at the venue for hours.The claims of government of providing elaborate security to the marchers in the face of ‘serious threats of terrorist attack’, as stated by Interior Minister Rehman Malik repeatedly, seemed hollow as the people were seen moving in and out of the venue of the procession without any restraint, making them vulnerable to any terrorist activity.Earlier, as the main convoy snail-passed, local residents of towns falling along the GT road welcomed the 5-kilometere-long caravan with chanting slogans and showering it with rose petals. Anthems blasted out of loudspeakers as protesters danced to drumbeats. Men, women and children piled onto rooftops of buses, flashing victory signs. Witnesses said there were tens of thousands, carrying the green and white national flags of Pakistan and the flags of Qadri’s religious and educational organisation.Long-standing followers of Qadri and activists in his Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran movement are taking part alongside those who say they have no previous connection to the 61-year-old cleric who has campaigned against terrorism. They say Qadri has given a voice to the masses who have suffered at the hands of the feudal and industrial elite in a country suffering from a weak economy, an energy crisis, insurgencies and sectarian government.“We want change in this government. There is no security for people. There is no electricity, there is no gas. All the thieves are in the government and we want to get rid of them,” said Zubairul Hasan Shah, 42. He said he had food to last for a month and blankets, so he was undeterred about camping out in the street in the night-time cold of an Islamabad winter. Hafez Aamir Chishti, a cleric from Lahore travelling by motorbike, said he would stay in Islamabad as long as it takes to exact change. “I’ll stay there until real change comes or until Tahirul Qadri asks me to go back. If I have to stay 10 years, I’ll stay there,” he said.“We will stay in Islamabad until this government is finished, all the assemblies are dissolved, all corrupt people are totally ousted, a just constitution is imposed, rule of law is enforced, and true and real democracy is enforced,” Dr Qadri told the media on Monday. The cleric wants an interim government to root out graft and mismanagement that have caused chronic energy shortages, stunted growth and allowed crime and a Taliban insurgency to flourish.But his calls have divided Pakistanis. Some see him as a reformist champion, like 25-year-old Gulshan Irshad, a public school teacher of Gujranwala, who says she hasn’t been paid in two years. “Officials want a bribe for releasing my salary but I won’t give in to corruption,” she said. “He (Qadri) is the first person who wants to change the whole corrupt system.”Others see Qadri a stooge for the military, which has a history of coups and interfering in elections. They say his demands are unconstitutional and replacing an elected government with an unelected one will not help accountability. Leading TV anchors have questioned the source of his funds for a lavish media campaign and fleets of buses to transport supporters. Qadri says most of the money came from donations from those fed up with the current administration.If held on schedule, the election will mark the first democratic transition of power between two civilian governments in Pakistan’s 65-year history, which has been marked by bloodless coups and extensive periods of military rule. Mainstream politicians fear that Qadri’s demand for the military to have a say in the caretaker set-up could be a ploy by elements of the establishment to prolong the interim administration and delay elections.Interior minister Rehman Malik has repeatedly warned that the Taliban could launch an attack on the march and more than 7,000 security personnel deployed in Islamabad as several thousand protesters started to gather. Mobile phone networks had been shut down along the route of the convoy since it left the eastern city of Lahore on Sunday, a precaution designed to stop the Taliban and other militant groups detonating bombs.The protest comes on the heels of a three-day sit-in by Hazara Shias in Quetta protesting against one of the worst sectarian attacks in the country’s history in which 96 of their community were killed. After thousands of Shias sat in the roads by the bodies of their dead, the federal government finally gave in to the one of the protesters’ key demands and sacked the provincial government, saying it had not done enough to protect citizens.