Oppn leaders meet Khan, Qadri to end political deadlock in Pak

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Islamabad, Sep 3: A delegation of opposition parties met Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan and Awami Tehreek head Tahir-ul Qadri overnight to end the political deadlock, media reports said on Wednesday.

The lawmakers led by Sirajul Haq, chief of right wing Jamaat-i-Islami, first met with Khan and then Qadri and offered them guarantee of Parliament for implementation of any deal reached to end the crisis that has triggered violence.

"PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf) accepted our request (of talks) with open heart and we are thankful to them," Haq was quoted by Dawn as saying after the meeting. He said the journey of dialogue process would continue until a logical conclusion was reached.

Senior Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader Rehman Malik, who was part of the delegation, said he would like to thank Khan "who met us in the middle of the crowd".

Malik condemned the use of violence against anti-government protesters. "I would request the government not to view the agreement of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and PTI to engage in dialogue as their weakness," he said.

He appealed to the government to stop the act of detaining PAT and PTI activists across the country. Khan wants Sharif's ouster over alleged rigging in last year's poll which his party lost, while Qadri wants to bring a revolution in the country.

Both the leaders are agitating since August 14. The weekend saw the anti-government protests morph the high-security Red Zone from a concert ground to a bloody battlefield, with three people killed and over 550 injured. Tehreek-i-Insaf vice-president Shah Mehmmod Qureshi told media that his party had presented its view point during a meeting with the team headed by Haq.

Qureshi said that members of the opposition delegation had expressed their will to initiate dialogue for the sake of democracy, which was agreed to. He said a meeting would be held on Wednesday evening at Malik's residence during which talks would be resumed from where they had discontinued.

Both Khan and Qadri for the first time jointly addressed the protestors during the night from the top of Khan's shipping container mounted on truck. Both vowed to continue protest against Sharif.

Leaders from across the political spectrum backed Prime Minister Sharif at an emergency joint session of the Parliament convened yesterday to support him and discuss the current impasse.

Most of the leaders expressed their resolute support for Sharif in the wake of anti-government protests. The parliament is poised to resume the joint sitting again today.

PTI

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