Pakistani government has reached a deal with cleric Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri to end his mass protest near parliament in Islamabad, the two sides say.
The details of the deal are unclear. Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri’s supporters want the government to resign ahead of elections due to be held in May.
Pakistan was thrown into crisis on Tuesday by the protests and a court order to arrest PM Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.
Analysts say that Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is unlikely to be arrested imminently.
The head of Pakistan’s anti-corruption agency has refused an order by the Supreme Court to arrest Raja Pervaiz Ashraf for allegedly taking bribes.
Fasih Bokhari of the National Accountability Bureau said investigations had not produced enough evidence to justify an arrest.
Raja Pervaiz Ashraf denies accepting bribes when he approved power generation projects as minister for water and power in 2010.
Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri signalled on Thursday that his four-day protest would end later in the day.
Pakistani government has reached a deal with cleric Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri to end his mass protest near parliament in Islamabad
Talks began in the afternoon when a delegation of cabinet ministers and government members entered the bullet-proof container where he has been holed up since Tuesday with thousands of his supporters gathered alongside.
Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told the AFP news agency that the talks were intended to resolve the stand-off, which has paralyzed much of the centre of Islamabad.
His supporters, who have braved cold and heavy rain, reportedly broke into cheers and danced in the street at news of the dialogue.
Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri’s march from Lahore to the capital culminated in a mass rally on Monday evening.
Clashes briefly erupted on Tuesday but the mass protest has been largely peaceful.
The cleric has said he wants the military and judiciary to be involved in installing a caretaker government to oversee the forthcoming elections.
But he suffered a setback on Wednesday when the leader of the main opposition, the Pakistan Muslim League, refused to back his protests.
There has been speculation that Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri may be fishing for a role for the military and the judiciary when it comes to the appointment of a caretaker government to oversee over the forthcoming elections.
Politicians across Europe are starting to withdraw their support from the dangerous ACTA treaty. This weekend’s mass protest is our moment to bury ACTA for good. Click to join the day of action, in person or virtually — let’s win this!
In 24 hours, people across the planet are joining a global street protest to bury ACTA for good.
This week our massive 2 million ACTA petition caused shockwaves in Brussels, and we’ve just learned that Germany has put ACTA on ice and other governments are close to following suit. If Europe says no to ACTA, it dies! We’re at a tipping point — If enough of us join the protest tomorrow, we can secure our online freedom and end the threat of ACTA’s censorship nightmare.
Let’s turn out in thousands to protest or, if we can’t be there in person (most of the protests are in Europe), send messages of solidarity to our fellow citizens who are marching. Click here to use our map tool to find an event near you, or leave a solidarity message for marchers:
Our massive ACTA petition was personally delivered to leading EU politicians in Brussels this week as it grew to 2.2 million signers and beyond. The European Parliament is choosing their new point person on the treaty right now. Let’s make sure that person realises that ACTA is too hot to handle.
Four Eastern European governments and now Germany have just said they’ll stall their decision on the treaty. Now, if hundreds of thousands of people attend thousands of rallies all across Europe tomorrow, we can ensure that all politicians across the 27 EU countries are put on notice that people don’t want ACTA and will continue to take action until the treaty is buried.
Those of us in Europe can join the protests. And we all can send messages of solidarity to encourage the people there and use social media to pile the pressure on key parliamentarian. Click here to check out the action centre, and tell everyone.
Again and again, we’ve shown how people power can work. When our fundamental freedoms are at stake, and we act together, we can forge an unstoppable force that makes politicians turn away from the corporate lobbies, and work in the interests of all of us. Let’s do it again.
With hope and determination,
Alex, Alice, Pascal, Emma, Ricken, Maria Paz, Luis and the rest of the Avaaz team