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PTI, PAT accept army mediation offer

Pakistan, Islamabad News : Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) , which are leading a two-week protest to try to oust the government, have accepted Pakistan Army’s mediatory/guarantory role after the talks to end the standoff failed.

Thousands of followers of Tahir-ul-Qadri and Imran Khan are camped outside the parliament building in Islamabad to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, saying he headed a corrupt administration and demanding wide-ranging political reforms.

Earlier, Qadri had early told his followers that talks have failed and they would be free to leave after he had made a “final and historic speech”.

A parallel protest led by former cricketer Imran Khan is also calling for Sharif to go, alleging the general election that brought him to power last year was rigged.

The two-week showdown at the heart of the capital has rattled the nuclear-armed state and shaken Sharif’s government just 15 months in to a five-year mandate.

A week of on-off talks have made little obvious headway and on Thursday Qadri’s team announced they had failed and the cleric would make his “final and historic” speech at 6:00 pm (1300 GMT).

“After this speech Dr Qadri will have no control over the protesters and they will be allowed to leave,” Qadri spokesman Shahid Mursaleen said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear whether Qadri was calling off the protest, though a source close to his camp said he may be planning to return to the eastern city of Lahore. Agencies

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