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.
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“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.
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.