Home World Asia News Pakistan protests: Parliament holds joint session as PM Nawaz Sharif seeks support

Pakistan protests: Parliament holds joint session as PM Nawaz Sharif seeks support

Pakistan’s parliament is holding a joint session as PM Nawaz Sharif seeks to rally support against protesters calling for his resignation.

Clashes between security forces and demonstrators continued for a third day on September 1 in the capital Islamabad.

The army has denied suggestions it is backing anti-government groups, insisting it is “apolitical”.

Nawaz Sharif – who was elected last year – has said he is determined to protect democracy and will not resign.

The emergency session of both houses of parliament could last several days and the prime minister will make an address during the session.

Opposition cleric Tahir ul-Qadri has insisted that Nawaz Sharif should step down to face murder charges and a terrorism probe.

Tahir ul-Qadri is supported by another opposition politician, Imran Khan – who argues that the June 2013 elections were rigged.

Police were deployed in strength late on Monday as the government resumed negotiations with Tahir ul-Qadri and Imran Khan.

Protests in Pakistan had been peaceful until August 30, when violence broke out

Protests in Pakistan had been peaceful until August 30, when violence broke out

PM Nawaz Sharif – who was elected with an overwhelming mandate – has pledged “not to let the people’s mandate be hijacked by intimidation”.


His Pakistan Muslim League is the largest political party in the country.

The country’s national PTV television channel on September 1 was briefly taken off air after protesters stormed its headquarters in Islamabad.

The army’s public relations wing on the same day issued a statement in which it described itself as an “apolitical institution” that “categorically rejected” supporting either Imran Khan or Tarih ul-Qadri.

The army’s intervention came after a senior figure in Imran Khan’s PTI party, Javed Hashmi, claimed Khan had told senior party members that the army and intelligence services were ready to help him and Tahir ul-Qadri topple the government.

A popularly elected government, which now also has the support of almost all opposition forces, is being cornered by a minority political group and the followers of a cleric who runs a charity network.

Thousands of demonstrators – some wielding batons and throwing stones – on September 1 moved on the main building housing Pakistan’s federal bureaucracy and Prime Minister’s House. A number of riot policemen were reported to have been injured.

Protests had been peaceful until August 30, when violence broke out. Three people died and hundreds were injured.

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