Imran suspends talks with govt; calls for nationwide protest

Imran suspends talks with govt; calls for nationwide protest

Imran suspends talks with govt; calls for nationwide protest

Pakistan's opposition leader Imran Khan today hardened his stand by withdrawing from dialogue with the government and vowed to continue his fight till the end, apparently buoyed by the Supreme Court's washing off its hands of the protests.

Pakiatan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief cleric Tahirul Qadri whose thousands of supporters have combined with Khan's supporters also stayed put in the 'Red Zone' where important government buildings including the Parliament House, Prime Minister House, President House, the Supreme Court besides the embassies are housed.

PAT whose leaders met with government representatives yesterday held no fresh talks today.
Khan relented late last night from his 'no-talks' position until Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resigns. A team of his party leaders held discussions with the government representatives.

The Pakistan Supreme Court today rejected the government's plea for an order for the eviction of protesters besieging the Parliament, saying it is an administrative matter and should be dealt with in accordance with the law.

Emboldened by the court's stand, Khan upped the ante against the Sharif government, announcing that he would not talk to the government until the Prime Minister resigns.
A visibly charged Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Khan this afternoon called on his supporters to expand the civil disobedience movement into all the provinces.

"It is our democratic right to protest...we are not breaking any laws. I request the Supreme Court to have these containers removed so that life can return to normal," said Khan, addressing his supporters camped outside the parliament.

"The talks with the government are over. How can these talks proceed when we first want resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif?" Khan said.
Khan asked his supporters from all provinces to converge in Islamabad. He vowed to fight "until the last ball".
"PTI suspends negotiations with the government committee. Their attitude is totally opposite compared to their dialogues call," PTI party said on twitter.
PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the decision had been conveyed to Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar and it was taken because the government's actions were opposite to their dialogue call.
"Police has begun crackdown against PTI workers and is once again blocking roads in Islamabad," he said.
Qureshi's statement came as the government team reached a local hotel here to hold talks with the PTI team which did not turn up for the meeting, Geo News reported.

Police baton-charged Qadri's Awami Tehreek protesters as they neared the Parliament. Clashes took place between them and the police. After the initial minor skirmishes, police slowly retreated as part of policy to avoid violence.

The protesters had reached the Constitution Avenue as the government decided to withdraw security forces.

"PM just told me he has ordered the police not to use any kind of force against the protesters as women & children are in the front rows," Sharif's daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif tweeted late last night.

Pakistan Army has taken charge of the Interior Ministry's control room, Dawn News reported.
The protesters of Khan and Qadri started separately but later moved towards the Parliament together.

Information minister Pervaiz Rashid told Geo TV that the marchers have violated written commitment that they will not enter the Red Zone.

Khan asked supporters to come back at 4 pm today for fresh phase of protests.
Qadri, whose supporters were in fact the first to breach the Red Zone, addressed his party workers in open area in front of the parliament and announced to stay in the capital till Prime Minister Sharif resigns.

"My supporters will not leave until National Government is formed," Qadri said.
So far all efforts to settle the unrest through talks have failed as Khan and Qadri have refused to settle for anything less than Sharif's resignation.

In his latest tweet, Khan vowed to continue his efforts to build what he called a new Pakistan.
"When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty. Yesterday we took a giant step for Naya Pakistan and democracy," he said in the latest tweet.

The routine protests have turned quite ominous and the fear of military intervention has increased.
The international community has also become alive to the threat to democracy in Pakistan.
The US has appealed to all sides to refrain from violence and resolve their differences through peaceful discussions in a way that strengthens democracy in Pakistan.

"We are carefully monitoring the demonstrations in Islamabad. We urge all sides to refrain from violence, exercise restraint, and respect the rule of law," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters at her daily news conference.

In a statement today, British foreign secretary said, "We strongly support a democratic Pakistan and the use of democratic institutions to resolve political disputes. I hope that all parties in Pakistan can work together under the Constitution to peacefully resolve current political differences."

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