Pakistan: Nawaz Sharif Calls for Restarting Negotiations to End Crisis
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s embattled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday vowed to protect state institutions as he appealed to the protesters to restart negotiations with the government to end the 18-day political impasse. Mr Sharif, who chaired a high-level meeting at his house on Sunday afternoon, also endorsed an opposition proposal and convened a joint session of Parliament on Tuesday.
The meeting was attended by federal ministers Ishaq Dar, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Ahsan Iqbal, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Zahid Hamid, Abdul Quadir Baloch and Khawaja Saad Rafiq. According to an official statement, the meeting condemned the attack on key buildings considered as symbols of the state by protesters led by opposition leader Imran Khan and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, terming it “undemocratic and unconstitutional”.
The steps taken by police and security forces to defend and defeat violence were appreciated. It said that the government adopted the path of negotiations but was betrayed and that the protesters invaded the premier’s house despite prior commitment not to do so. Related Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Still Surrounded by Protesters After Deadly Clashes Protesters Attack Office of Pakistani TV Channel Geo News Rift in Imran Khan’s Party Over March to PM’s House, Four Expelled The participants of the meeting also agreed that the undemocratic onslaught should stop and parties should come back to the negotiation table.
“The Ministry of Interior was directed to utilise all resources to ensure protection of state institutions without loss of life,” it said on last night’s violence as the protesters tried to enter the premier’s house. Mr Sharif also decided to endorse a proposal of leader of the Opposition Syed Khurshid Shah and convened a joint session of Parliament on Tuesday.
The meeting condemned acts of violence against the media, which resulted in injuries and damage to their equipment. The prime minister directed officials to start immediate investigation of these incidents and promptly ensure verified compensation mechanism. Mr Khan and Mr Qadri have been agitating since August 14 outside the Parliament with thousands of supporters, demanding Mr Sharif’s ouster. The former has alleged that last year’s general elections which brought Mr Sharif to power was rigged.