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Pakistani government holds talks with Tahir-ul-Qadri

Posted on Aug 21 2014 | IANS

Islamabad, Aug 21 : Pakistan government Wednesday held talks with Tahir-ul-Qadri, a cleric and opposition leader, who is leading thousands of supporters in a sit-in in Islamabad and demanding resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Qadri, leader of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek(PAT), who launched anti-government protest Aug 14, had earlier refused to hold talks with the government. He contends that he can bring out a revolution as the present system failed to deliver, Xinhua reported.

He, however, agreed to hold talks after the Sharif-led government formed a committee comprising two ministers and some political leaders to defuse the political tension.

The two sides held two rounds of dialogue, the step described as an important move to "melt the ice" at a time when the protest has disrupted life in Islamabad.

The government negotiation team was satisfied with the opening of the dialogue, however, the Qadri team reiterated his demand for Sharif's resignation.

Ejaz ul Haq, a member of the government's team, hoped the situation will improve in the coming days.

The Qadri's team, however, maintained its demand of Sharif's stepping down from prime ministership.

"We do not expect any justice till Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stays," Raheeq Abbasi, a PAT leader, said after the talks, adding that the party presented its demands to the government negotiation team.

Mewnwhile, another opposition party, led by cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan, also formed a committee for dialogue with the government. But Khan reiterated his call for Sharif's resignation.

Sharif has rejected demand for resignation.

Meanwhile, political watchers said the talks have raised hope for defusing the tensions in Pakistan.

Earlier in the day, the Pakistan Supreme Court restrained Imaran Khan and Tahir-ul- Qadri from illegal trespassing of prohibited zones.

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