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Protests, sit-ins affecting Pakistan's progress: Nawaz Sharif

Posted on Aug 30 2014 | IANS

Islamabad/Lahore, Aug 30 : Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Saturday said the sit-ins and protesters have affected Pakistan's progress and people's mandate cannot be sabotaged by a few thousand people, even as Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf reiterated the demand for his resignation.

In an interview Nawaz Sharif said he has already accepted the legitimate demands of the protesters, Geo News reported. He expressed surprise over Pakistan Awami Tehreek leader Tahir-ul Qadri's stand as most of his demands had been accepted by the government.

The prime minister said the National Assembly has already approved a resolution to protect democracy and will not let any anti-democracy scheme flourish.

Due to the current political uncertainties, the country's development was jeopardised, he said, adding that the facts would be unveiled before the nation soon.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan, the chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Saturday reiterated his demand for Sharif to step down until the judicial commission completes its probe into the alleged rigging during the 2013 general election.

"The prime minister should sit out for one month until the rigging probe is complete. Resign till the investigation and, if cleared, return," Geo News quoted Imran Khan as saying.

Earlier Saturday, a petition was filed in the Lahore High Court seeking to have the prime minister disqualified for lying in his speech to parliament Friday on the issue of arbitration by the army .

Nawaz Sharif Friday told parliament that it was PAT chief Qadri and PTI's Imran Khan who had requested a meeting with Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif to broker a settlement with the government over the prevailing political crisis.

Imran Khan and Qadri categorically rejected the premier's statement that they had invoked the army's help and in separate speeches slammed the premier for "lying to the nation".

The military later issued a statement saying that it was playing the role of facilitator in the ongoing political crisis at the behest of the government.

In a separate development, a non-bailable arrest warrant was issued Saturday for Tahir-ul Qadri and 71 activists of his party, Dawn reported.

Pakistan's anti-terrorism Judge Ittefaq Abbasi has asked Qadri and the activists to appear in court Sep 5.

The police have said the 71 PAT activists were involved in attacking police and injuring more than 76 officials during their Aug 8 march.

Police have registered a case against them under the Terrorism Act.

The court had already issued an arrest warrant for Qadri Aug 22 and Aug 29, but police could not arrest him as he was leading a sit-in in Islamabad.

Tahir-ul Qadri and PTI chief Imran Khan Aug 15 began their protests for the resignation of Nawaz Sharif, accusing him of rigging the 2013 general election.

On Friday, the talks between the government and representatives of the PTI and PAT failed to break the political deadlock between the two sides.

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