Pakistan protest leader calls off talks with government

Photo: Pakistan protest leader calls off talks with government / Other News

Negotiations between the Pakistani government and firebrand cleric Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri collapsed late Wednesday as the two sides appeared sticking to their guns in regard to their stance, Anadolu agency reported.

Qadri, who has been sitting in capital Islamabad for the last two weeks, announced the collapse of talks after the government refused to accept his key demands including the dissolution of the provincial government in Punjab and registration of murder cases against a number of high-ranking officials including prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

"I regret to announce that doors of negotiations with government are closed now. There will be no more talks," Qadri told a crowd of his 10,000 followers.

Qadri said that Thursday would be the "revolution day" for Pakistan, despite not elaborating on the modalities and procedure for bringing about his revolution.

"Gather here at 3 p.m. tomorrow, which will be our last day here," an emotionally charged Qadri said hinting at violent protests that might include storming the parliament or the prime ministry house to force the government to step down.

Many analysts warn that a fresh wave of violent protsts may provide a pretext for the country's powerful army to intervene in line with Egypt's General Al-Sisi.

Information Minister Pervez Rasheed told reporters that the government was ready to lodge the murder case if Qadri had agreed to end his sit in.

"However, Dr. Qadri refused to do that as he said he would not leave the capital without bringing about the revolution," Rasheed said.

Qadri, a controversial religious scholar, had teamed up with cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, who, along with thousands of his supporters, marched on the capital on August 14.

The two leaders earlier demanded the resignation of prime minister, dissolution of the parliament and the election commission, and new elections. Khan, however, later softened his stance, offering Sharif to go on a month-long leave while allegations of electoral fraud in last year's elections are being investigated.

Sharif, who will attend the oath taking ceremony of Turkey's President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday, has already rejected Khan and Qadri's demand, saying his government is ready for electoral reforms and launch a probe into rigging allegations.

Follow us on Twitter @TRENDNewsAgency