Pakistan parliament rejects call for PM's resignation
Posted on Aug 21 2014 | IANS
Islamabad, Aug 21 : Pakistan's parliament Thursday unanimously passed a resolution rejecting demands by PTI chairman Imran Khan and PAT leader Tahir ul Qadri for the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and dissolution of assemblies.
Several thousand supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) leader Tahir ul Qadri have staged a week-long sit-in in Islamabad to press for Sharif's resignation.
Sharif has ruled out resigning, but agreed to discuss other demands of the two leaders including a call for investigation into the alleged rigging in last year's election.
The government held the first round of talks with the two leaders Wednesday.
As the opposition groups mounted pressure on the government, the National Assembly or lower house of parliament Thursday unanimously passed a resolution rejecting the "unconstitutional demands of the protesting parties for the resignation of the prime minister and dissolution of the assemblies", Xinhua reported.
The resolution moved by senior politician Mahmoud Khan Achakzai resolved to uphold the supremacy of the constitution and sovereignty of the parliament.
Political analysts are of the view that the resolution will give a boost to the prime minister and could further isolate Khan, whose PTI party has 35 members in the 342-member National Assembly.
Qadri has no representation in parliament.
Khan has announced that his party's lawmakers would quit the national and two provincial assemblies as part of the protest. The resignations have not been submitted to the speaker so far.
Sharif was present during the assembly session and is likely to deliver a speech in the house after a debate.
The National Assembly reiterated its resolve that democracy would continue to function and flourish and that no protest could pose any threat to the system.
The resolution also strongly condemned the "derogatory and defamatory language used by the leadership of protesting parties".