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Pakistan crisis: Stalemate continues, talks enter 'meaningful' phase

Islamabad: Political stalemate in Pakistan continued today with Imran Khan sticking to his demand of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's resignation, even as talks between the government and protesters entered a "meaningful" phase.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) chief Khan, while addressing his supporters outside the Parliament, said he will not go back without forcing Premier Sharif to resign and asked his party leaders to bring more people to the sit-in. Khan asked his supporters to continue the sit-in for another two weeks. Populist cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) is also camping close to Khan's camp.

His supporters have vacated the parking lot of the Parliament and are now sitting near the Constitution Avenue. Another round of talks between the government and PTI was held in the capital yesterday. While both sides claimed that "progress had been made", they admitted that there were still certain "core issues" that needed to be resolved.

 Pakistan crisis: Stalemate continues, talks enter meaningful phase

Imran Khan. AFP.

After the talks held last night, PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi declared that "meaningful dialogue has begun" and that both sides were making "serious efforts to rescue the nation from the prevailing impasse."

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who lead the government panel, told reporters that the two sides would meet again to sort out remaining issues. As talks made some progress, Khan continued his attack on the government, accusing several politicians of being beneficiaries of rigging in last year's general election.

He also named Chief Minister of Balochistan province Dr Abdul Malik, who is considered as a "clean" politician in Pakistan, among the leaders benefiting from rigging. Khan's call for extending the protest for two weeks has come at a time when he is already facing criticism for demonstrating even as the country has been hit by the worst floods in its history.

Khan has also said the PTI leadership will approach the Supreme Court to get Prime Minister Sharif disqualified for lying on the floor of the National Assembly regarding the leadership of the PTI, PAT and the army. Khan and Qadri have been protesting in front of Parliament since August 14 to force Sharif's resignation over alleged rigging in the 2013 general election won by the PML-N party.

Several rounds of talks have failed to resolve the crisis as protesters want nothing short of Sharif's ouster and fresh polls.



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Updated Date: Sep 08, 2014 14:08:51 IST

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