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Pakistani gov't opens talks with opposition leader

English.news.cn   2014-08-21 02:28:02

ISLAMABAD, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Pakistani government on Wednesday opened talks with an opposition leader, who is leading thousands of supporters in a sit-in in Islamabad and is demanding resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Dr Tahir ul Qadri, leader of the Pakistani Awami Party (PAP), started protest against the government on Aug. 14 and had earlier refused to hold talks with the government. He says he will bring out a revolution as the present system failed to deliver.

He, however, agreed to hold talks after the government formed a committee comprising two ministers and some political leaders to defuse the political tensions.

The two sides held two rounds of dialogue, the step described as an important move to "melt the ice" at a time when the protest has disrupted life in Islamabad.

The government negotiation team was satisfied with the opening of the dialogue however the Qadri team reiterated its demand for resignation of the prime minister.

"We do not expect any justice until Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stays," a PAT leader, Raheeq Abbasi, told reporters after the talks. He said the party has presented its demands to the government negotiation team.

A member of the government's team, Ejaz ul Haq, hoped the situation will improve in the coming days.

Another opposition party, led by cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan, also formed a committee for dialogue with the government. Khan reiterated call for the resignation of the prime minister.

Addressing his supporters outside the parliament building, Khan also called for dissolution of the election commission and electoral reforms to stop rigging in the elections.

Prime Minister Sharif has rejected demand for resignation but his ministers say they are ready for talks.

Khan claimed that last year's elections, won by Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League party, had been rigged. The claim was rejected by the government.

The talks have raised hope for defusing the tensions in Pakistan, political watchers said.

Editor: yan
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