The Asian Age

Ru­mours sweep Pak, mobs go on ram­page

Sharif: Won’t quit, or go on long leave

- SHAFQAT ALI with agency in­puts

The po­lit­i­cal cri­sis in Pak­istan es­ca­lated dra­mat­i­cally on Mon­day as ru­mours swept the na­tion that Army chief Gen. Ra­heel Sharif had asked Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif to step down, and other spec­u­la­tion that the PM had called a Par­lia­ment ses­sion on Tues­day to seek support to dis­miss the Army chief and some five or six se­nior gen­er­als.

Both the gov­ern­ment and the mil­i­tary swiftly de­nied the re­ports, dis­miss­ing th­ese claims as “base­less”. Duniya TV had re­ported Gen. Sharif had asked the PM to step down for a tem­po­rary three­month pe­riod as sought by the pro­test­ers to let an in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sion probe al­leged rig­ging in last year’s gen­eral elec- tion.

Later Mon­day, Prime Min­is­ter Sharif cat­e­gor­i­cally said he will “nei­ther re­sign nor go on long leave” after he met Op­po­si­tion lead­ers here to seek their support. He said

Par­lia­ment will meet to­day amid talk of PM’s plan to sack gen­er­als

Mil­i­tary de­nies that Army chief had asked PM to step down now

the na­tion’s lead­ers had re­solved that “there can­not be any com­pro­mise on supremacy of the Con­sti­tu­tion and con­ti­nu­ity of the demo­cratic sys­tem”. Any “de­vi­a­tion” from democ­racy would be dan­ger­ous for Pak­istan, they said.

The lead­ers vowed to stand by the PM in the strug­gle to de­fend democ­racy, they said. “All par­lia­men­tary par­ties de­cided to be­come party to the

gate, hours after the mil­i­tary asked all par­ties to peace­fully re­solve the twoweek- long dead­lock. Tele­vi­sion images showed pro­test­ers pelt­ing stones and the po­lice us­ing ba­tons and tear­gas to dis­perse the angry crowd.

Pak­istan Tehreek- i- In­saf chair­man Im­ran Khan and cleric Tahir- ul- Qadri of Pak­istan Awami Tehreek were booked on Mon­day un­der the anti- gov­ern­ment. Hun­dreds of pro­test­ers stormed PTV’s of­fice, block­ing its trans­mis­sion briefly be­fore the Army evicted them and se­cured the build­ing. Pro­test­ers barged into the PTV net­work of­fice, smash­ing cam­eras, and en­tered the con­trol room. Over 800 pro­test­ers en­tered the build­ing.

Army per­son­nel reached the head­quar­ters of the TV sta­tion and asked the pro­test­ers to leave the build­ing im­me­di­ately. The Army then took con­trol of the PTV head­quar­ters and evicted the pro­test­ers.

Ear­lier Mon­day, Pak­istan Tehrik- e- In­saf ’ s dis­si­dent chief Makhdoom Javed Hashmi al­leged that Im­ran Khan had come “on an agenda” to Is­lam­abad. “Im­ran Khan told us ‘ they’ ( Army) said move for­ward with Tahirul Qadri”, said Javed Hashmi.

 ?? — AP ?? Pak­istani pro­test­ers chase po­lice of­fi­cers dur­ing clashes in Is­lam­abad on Mon­day. The demon­stra­tors pushed into a sprawl­ing gov­ern­ment com­plex in an ef­fort to try to reach the Prime Min­is­ter’s of­fi­cial res­i­dence.
— AP Pak­istani pro­test­ers chase po­lice of­fi­cers dur­ing clashes in Is­lam­abad on Mon­day. The demon­stra­tors pushed into a sprawl­ing gov­ern­ment com­plex in an ef­fort to try to reach the Prime Min­is­ter’s of­fi­cial res­i­dence.
 ?? — AFP ?? Pak­istan Tehreek- e- In­saf chief Im­ran Khan ges­tures dur­ing the anti- gov­ern­ment march in Is­lam­abad on Mon­day.
— AFP Pak­istan Tehreek- e- In­saf chief Im­ran Khan ges­tures dur­ing the anti- gov­ern­ment march in Is­lam­abad on Mon­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India