Tahir-ul-Qadri, chief of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), announced that peaceful negotiations with the Pakistan government have “completely failed” and that “today will be Inquilab day (revolution day).”
Mr. Qadri, an influential cleric with a mass following, along with Imran Khan, chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have been leading protests and rallies against the government in Islamabad for the last two weeks demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over alleged election fraud. They have also demanded major reforms in the country’s electoral system to prevent voter fraud.
Mr. Khan also hardened his stand and said that as long as Mr. Sharif remains the prime minister, negotiations cannot continue.
“Nawaz Sharif is buying time. If we let him stay, he will buy officials and media houses,” Mr. Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician said.
“We offered concessions, we agreed for the Prime Minister to resign only for 30 days, but they know what would happen if they allow investigations to proceed,” he added.
On Wednesday, Mr. Sharif addressed the Pakistan Parliament and brushed aside the demand for his resignation remarking that the country has gone through “difficult times” and that this too shall pass.
“We are not going to be diverted by these things. The journey for the supremacy of Constitution and law in Pakistan will continue with full determination and God willing there will not be any interruption in it,” Mr. Sharif said.
The protests continued in the backdrop of the Supreme Court’s directions that all demonstrators would have to be cleared from the national capital’s Constitution Avenue by Thursday.