Imran Repeats Demand for Pak PM Sharif to Quit for 30 Days

Opposition leader Imran Khan demanded that Nawaz Sharif quit for 30 days to allow an independent probe into alleged rigging in last year\'s polls.

Published: 24th August 2014 06:44 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th August 2014 06:50 PM   |  A+A-


ISLAMABAD: Opposition leader Imran Khan today again demanded that Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif quit for 30 days to allow an independent probe into alleged rigging in last year's polls, hours after the government outrightly rejected the proposal to end the crippling political deadlock.        

"We accept nothing less than Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's resignation," Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Khan told his supporters as they continued the siege of the parliament.         

With government rejecting the protesters' demand that Sharif step down, the political deadlock entered the 11th day today with no breakthrough yet.   

The third round of talks between government negotiators and Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) last night failed to break the logjam.        

The PTI yesterday proposed that the prime minister resign for a period of 30 days during which a judicial commission works 'independently' to determine if the May, 2013 elections were transparent.   

This demand though was rejected by the government, who said they had accepted almost all other demands of the PTI.           

The party has announced it will recommence its sit-in this evening with screens and mini-protests in other cities also.      

After the meeting, Khan's chief negotiator Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters that if proved innocent Sharif can return to power.      

Government representative Ahsan Iqbal said the demand for resignation of the Prime Minister was not acceptable.   

Thousands of supporters of cricketer-turned-politician Khan and firebrand cleric Tahir-ul Qadri continued to camp outside the Parliament building here as their protests entered the 11th day today.            

Pakistani media said government has suspended mobile phone services in the Red Zone in and around the National Assembly citing security reasons. There are also reports of fresh efforts to block arterial roads leading to the protest site to prevent supporters of Khan and Qadri reaching there.          

Striking a defiant note, Khan said it was out of question to leave the capital without forcing Sharif to quit.            

"If it is proved after 30 days that everything was ok, you can return as the PM. But you are not willing to take us up on the offer. That is because you are afraid that you will be found out," Khan was quoted as saying by Express Tribune.          

Using the cricketing terminology, he promised to contest till the "last ball".

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister and the premier's brother Shahbaz Sharif denied reports that the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) government was considering his resignation as a means to end the political crisis.       

Punjab Law Minister Rana Mashhood categorically rejected the reports that the option of Shahbaz Sharif's resignation was under consideration, Dawn news reported.          

Yesterday, embattled Premier Sharif received a boost when former President Asif Ali Zardari met him at his residence in Lahore to discuss the crisis and pledged to "protect democracy".           

Briefing journalists, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said Zardari had assured his full support to Sharif in resolving the crisis within the limits of the constitution and law.        Khan and Qadri launched protests separately from Lahore on August 14 to dislodge the 15-month-old Sharif government and have been camping in Islamabad since last Saturday with thousands of their supporters.     

Separately, Qadri is also holding talks with another government team. He also wants the Sharif government ousted.           

The government enjoys a majority with ruling PML-N having 190 members in a House of 342.

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