Qadri has a large following that extends outside Pakistan and has a reputation for speaking out against terrorism and promoting his message through hundreds of books, an online television channel and videos.
Now, Qadri’s focus is on Pakistan’s election laws. He is suggesting vaguely worded changes, such as making sure candidates are honest as well as ending exploitation and income disparities so that poor people are free to vote for whomever they want.
His plan to hold a massive rally in Islamabad on Monday has alarmed many members of Pakistan’s political system. The government has deployed a large number of police throughout the capital and set up shipping containers to block protesters from reaching sensitive areas.
Qadri accused the provincial government of Punjab, where Lahore is the capital, of harassing his supporters Sunday to make it difficult for them to participate in the march.
‘‘These negative tactics will not work, and God willing the march will reach Islamabad with a sea of people,’’ Qadri told reporters.
Associated Press writers Ishtiaq Mahsud in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan, Rasool Dawar in Peshawar, Pakistan, Zaheer Babar in Lahore, Pakistan, and Asif Shahzad in Islamabad contributed to this report.