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

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers 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.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More