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Pakistani troops stand alert as opposition plans protests

English.news.cn   2014-08-19 23:01:22

ISLAMABAD, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan's interior minister says that army troops are being deployed in capital Islamabad to stop protesters from moving towards sensitive areas.

The decision comes at a time when two opposition leaders, Imran Khan and Tahir ul Qadri, have announced to enter the Red Zone which houses diplomatic missions, the Prime Minister and Parliament Houses.

The two leaders are demanding resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told a news conference in Islamabad on Tuesday that the government has formally re-questioned deployment of the troops to secure sensitive installations.

Imran Khan, Chief of Tehrik-e-Insaf party, announced late on Monday that he will lead his thousands of supporters to cross into the sensitive areas to press for the resignation of the prime minister.

Khan claims that Nawaz Sharif had been elected through "rigged elections" last year, the claim rejected by the government and the polls body.

Tahir ul Qadri, a religious leader, has been leading his supporters in a sit-in over the past six days to mount pressure for Sharif's resignation. He says the present system fails to work and he wants to bring out a revolution.

The minister said deployment of the troops will begin in few hours, adding that the foreign ministry has assured diplomatic missions of complete security.

The government has already deployed nearly 35,000 paramilitary troops, police and other security personnel to ensure peace in the capital city.

The protests have disrupted life in Islamabad and the authorities have extended holidays of the educational institutions.

Nisar renewed dialogue offer to the opposition leaders to address to their demands.

Both opposition leaders have so far refused to come to the negotiation table and insist on the PM's resignation.

Other opposition parties have also formed a committee to mediate between the government and the opposition leaders. However the mediation has not yet been successful.

The interior minister dispelled the impression that the army is behind the current protests and said the army has nothing to do with the political matters.

Editor: yan
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