M A I N   N E W S

Pak Parliament under siege
Imran rules out negotiations as govt team meets cleric Qadri to break deadlock

SC summons protesting leaders
Pakistan’s SC on Wednesday summoned Opposition leader Imran Khan and cleric Tahirul Qadri while hearing a plea filed by the Lahore HC’s Multan Bar Association
The petitioner has urged the SC to restrain the two groups from illegal and unlawful trespass of prohibited zones, and bar them from conducting a march
The Bench has issued notices to the parties concerned. The case will now be heard on Thursday

Islamabad, August 20
As hundreds of protesters laid siege to Pakistan Parliament, Opposition leader Imran Khan today ruled out talks with the government until Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stepped down. Cleric Tahirul Qadri, who leads the other group of protesters, however, held talks with government representatives.

The apparent difference in the approach of the two leaders came after the powerful Army sought a peaceful resolution of the weeklong crisis.

The Supreme Court earlier summoned Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and Qadri, chief of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), on a petition filed by the Lahore High Court's Multan Bar Association against the protests. The court served notices on the two to appear in the court tomorrow. Khan said he would abide by the court's verdict.

Speaking to mediapersons, Khan refused to negotiate with the government until the Prime Minister resigned, and threatened to storm Sharif's residence with his supporters at 8 pm. The cricketer-turned-politician later changed plans and addressed his supporters, conscious of the court hearing.

“We have decided to negotiate with Nawaz Sharif, but listen carefully — the negotiation will start with the resignation of Prime Minister Sharif. How can a probe under Nawaz Sharif be transparent?” Khan said.

In a first sign of thaw between the government and the Opposition, Sharif sent a four-member team to negotiate a deal with Qadri. The move came after the Army called for calm following the breach by protesters of the high-security Red Zone that houses important government buildings, including Parliament, Prime Minister's residence, President's residence, the Supreme Court, besides the embassies.

“Our leader said the outcome of the negotiations should be in the best interest of the people,” PAT representative Khurram Nawaz Gandapur said after the government delegation, which included Minister for Frontier Region Qadri Baloch, Minister for Railway Saad Rafique, Opposition leaders Ijazul Haq and Haidar Abbas Rizvi, met Qadri.

Khan presented a six-point demands formula for talks. These included Sharif's resignation, re-elections, reforms of electoral laws, neutral caretaker government, new election commission and punishments to those responsible for rigging last year's polls. “You resign, make an independent committee which investigates (rigging) and then we can proceed,” Khan said. — Agencies





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |