Pakistan’s Army on Thursday stepped into the political struggle between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the opposition, signalling a possible end to a crisis that has destabilised the coup-prone nation.
Pakistan has been gripped by mass rallies for more than two weeks, with protesters led by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan and firebrand cleric Tahir ul-Qadri camped outside Parliament demanding Sharif’s resignation. Attempts to resolve the crisis through talks have failed, leading to a stand-off.
Addressing the roaring crowd of supporters late at night, Qadri said the Army had offered to mediate in the stand-off, a proposal he immediately endorsed.
“The Army Chief has asked us to give him 24 hours to solve the crisis,” he told thousands of flag-waving supporters. Khan, speaking shortly after him, echoed his remarks.
“The Army will compile and put together a package of our demands and make sure they are implemented,” Qadri added.
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The Army’s press wing tweeted that Army Chief General Raheel Sharif would meet both opposition leaders late on Thursday. No other official comment was immediately available.