News / Asia

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

A supporter of Pakistani cricket celebrity-turned-politician Imran Khan offers evening prayers during an anti-government sit-in protest in Islamabad, Aug. 29, 2014.
A supporter of Pakistani cricket celebrity-turned-politician Imran Khan offers evening prayers during an anti-government sit-in protest in Islamabad, Aug. 29, 2014.
Ayaz Gul

Pakistan's military has rejected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s claims he did not ask the army to play a role in defusing days of crippling anti-government demonstrations in the capital.

The embarrassing move is likely to increase pressure on the embattled Pakistani leader and offer more fuel to protesters calling for his removal from office.

Prime Minister Sharif has come under severe criticism from pro-democracy forces in the country, largely for turning to the army in his bid to resolve what analysts see as a crisis that needs political means to settle.

Even parliamentary allies and opposition political parties not involved in the mass protests sought an explanation for what they condemned as an anti-democracy move.
 
The criticism prompted Sharif to briefly address the national parliament on Friday. during which he tried to distance himself from the move.     
 
"The army did not ask for any mediatory role neither have we requested them to do so," he said, adding that both [protest leaders Imran] Khan and [Tahir-ul] Qadri were insisting on meeting with the army chief and he did not object to it.
 
Hours later the military swiftly rejected the assertions. An army spokesman said its chief, General Raheel Sharif, “was asked by the government to play a facilitative role for resolution of the current impasse," adding the request was made during a meeting with General Sharif at the prime minister’s office the previous day.
 
Thousands of protesters led by opposition politician Imran Khan and a populist cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri have camped out in Islamabad for more than two weeks demanding Prime Minister Sharif step down.
 
The prime minister refuses to accept what he has criticized as an unconstitutional demand and his attempts to seek a negotiated settlement of the political turmoil have not succeeded.
 
Following Sharif’s statement and its denial by the military, Khan told his supporters late Friday he will continue protesting until the prime minister is forced out of office.  
 
The cricketer-turned politician asked why should people in Pakistan pay taxes and not indulge in corrupt practices when their leader Nawaz Sharif blatantly lies on the floor of the parliament.
 
Qadri also addressed his followers not far from Khan’s rally and criticized the prime minister for making false statements.
 
Khan leads the third largest political bloc in parliament. He is demanding a fresh vote under a reformed electoral system, alleging last year’s parliamentary polls were rigged in favor of Nawaz Sharif’s party.
 
Qadri wants charges brought against the prime minister and other top government officials, blaming them for the murder of 14 Qadri followers in a June police crackdown.
 
The army has staged several coups to seize power, a major cause critics cite for the fledgling democracy in Pakistan. They urge the stakeholders to resolve the standoff, blaming politicians’ inability to resolve such confrontations paved the way for past military interventions.  
 
Tahira Abdullah is a human rights activist and a staunch opponent of any military role in national politics.
 
“I was hoping against hope that maybe we had turned the tide and we were in a transition mode. But today I have realized we have not turned the tide, we are not in a transition mode, we have gone back another 40 years in Pakistani history," said Abdullah.

Pakistan last year marked its first ever democratic transition of power from one elected government to another when Nawaz Sharif took office after his party won a majority in the parliamentary elections. But his decision to try former coup leader and retired general, Pervez Musharraf, for high treason, many believe, has strained his ties with the military.

 

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mahmood from: Rawalpindi
August 30, 2014 4:09 AM
PM has damaged his moral & political position in 150 seconds yesterday. He was in driving seat before that while mob leaders had little for face saving. The fiery speech of Opposition leader Mr. Khurshid in National Assembly in favour of constitution caused a stir & PM in a bid to endorse his views denied his a day before request to Army that got immediately contradicted by ISPR on twitter. Mr. Khurshid Shah was man of day yesterday.

by: nasim raza from: Rawalpindi
August 30, 2014 12:49 AM
In fact this is not the case. Efforts are just started. It has been 17 days since the protest was launched. It is PM who requested the Army to facilitate the parties because of deadlock. Unfortunately, his request which he made with good faith is politicized and it will delay the process more.

by: blue_man
August 29, 2014 3:29 PM
Really pathetic attempt to gain hits by making an attractive title but the article has nothing pertaining to it ... and the only reason because this has not happened. The process is ongoing, the author should do more research before posting crap like this.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs