Pak govt condemns protests as 'mutiny against state'

Islamabad, Sep 2: Describing the protests as a "mutiny against Pakistan", the government on Tuesday turned to Parliament for support as demonstrators continued to put pressure on a defiant Nawaz Sharif to quit as Prime Minister.

"This Parliament should remove the misconception that this is a democratic process. This is not a protest, not a dharna or a political gathering. This is mutiny against Pakistan," Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar said at an emergency joint session of the Parliament convened to support the Prime Minister and discuss the current political crisis.

"They reached the gates of the Supreme Court, of Parliament... yesterday they entered another state building and chanted slogans of 'Tahir-ul-Qadri Zindabad'," he said, referring to the storming of the PTV Islamabad office. Nisar said the protesters had pistols, cutters, hammers, catapults, slingshots and sticks with nails fixed to the end.

"The men in this crowd are from a militant organisation," he said of those who stormed the PTV building. The Supreme Court, while hearing a set of petitions against sit-ins by the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri's Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), today issued notices to all parliamentary parties as well as to PAT to resolve the ongoing political impasse within the parameters of the Constitution.

The four-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk issued notices after petitioner Zulfiqar Naqvi pleaded that all parties be summoned so the deadlock can be resolved. The developments came after late last night, the state-run PTV quoted Prime Minister Sharif as saying that neither he will resign, nor will he go on leave.

According to a joint statement issued after the opposition parties' meeting at the Prime Minister's House yesterday, the premier said he would not let people's mandate be hijacked by intimidation. Khan continued to apply pressure on Sharif to resign saying he will not leave the Constitution Avenue till the Prime Minister quits.

"I approached all legal avenues to resolve the issue of poll-rigging but to no avail. The government kept employing delaying tactics but this is the real power that the government is now willing to accept all our demands except the prime minister's resignation," Khan said.

"But we will not go back until Nawaz Sharif resigns," Khan said addressing his supporters. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Army, in a statement categorically rejected the assertions that along with ISI, it was backing PTI and PAT in the current political standoff.

"Army is an apolitical institution and has expressed its unequivocal support for democracy at numerous occasions. It is unfortunate that Army is being dragged into such controversies," it said. 


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