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Pakistan: Parliament backs Sharif as crisis deepens

world Updated: Sep 03, 2014 02:20 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad

A political stalemate continued in Pakistan on Tuesday, a day after the army chief asked prime minister Nawaz Sharif to resign, as all the major political parties rallied around him.

Parliament remained in session with speakers from almost all the major political parties backing the government. “We are not doing Nawaz Sharif a favour but we want to save the system,” commented Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, an MP from opposition Pakistan Peoples’ Party.

The parliament met in joint sitting, usually called for special or emergency situations, at the request of the opposition. Opposition politician Mehmood Khan Achakzai from Quetta questioned how long the government will allow the protestors to run amok in the constitution avenue. “We are with you. We are elected representatives. It is time to put an end to this drama.”

Sharif listened to all the speakers with rapt attention but did not speak himself. Earlier, he had expressed disgust that the protestors had put women and children first when they wanted to storm the PM House on Saturday night. Outside parliament, protestors fought pitched battles with police forces all daylong while the military deployed in the area stood at a safe distance and continued to watch developments.

On Monday, an army contingent had helped clear the headquarters of state-owned Pakistan Television as protestors had earlier stormed the building. Sharif reportedly cancelled his UK visit due to ongoing crisis. Daily Times, a Pakistan daily, reported Imran Khan had announced his party members would attend the National Assembly session on Wednesday.