News / Asia

    Pakistan Army Steps in Try to Resolve Political Crisis

    A supporter of the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf political party Imran Khan, a former international cricketer, cheers while listening to him speak during what has been dubbed a "freedom march" in Islamabad, August 28, 2014.
    A supporter of the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf political party Imran Khan, a former international cricketer, cheers while listening to him speak during what has been dubbed a "freedom march" in Islamabad, August 28, 2014.
    Ayaz Gul

    Pakistan’s powerful military has stepped in to act as “mediator and guarantor” to broker a deal between embattled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and two anti-government leaders calling for his ouster.

    For days, opposition politician Imran Khan and a firebrand cleric, Tahir-ul Qadri, have been separately camping out in the heart of the Pakistani capital along with tens of thousands of anti-government supporters, demanding the prime minister step down.  

    Prime Minister Sharif refuses to do so, criticizing the calls for his ouster as unconstitutional.  He has tried unsuccessfully to resolve the political impasse through several rounds of negotiations with protesting leaders.

    Khan, who leads the third largest political bloc in parliament, is calling for another vote under a reformed electoral system.  The cricketer-turned-politician alleges last year’s parliamentary polls were rigged to bring Sharif and his party to power.

    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. Although the government allowed police on Thursday to institute a criminal case after a delay of more than two months, Qadri rejected the move and came up with new demands.

    Late Thursday, Prime Minister Sharif asked the powerful military "to play its role" in defusing the mass protests.

    Khan and Qadri announced the development to their supporters.  During a late night speech, Khan told a cheering crowd that Army chief General Raheel Sharif contacted them and asked them to give him 24 hours to solve the crisis.  

    Khan told demonstrators "either festivities will be held on Friday or the anti-government campaign will be intensified."  

    For his part, Qadri thanked the military for coming forward to try to peacefully resolve the crisis.

    The cleric said the army chief offered to act as a “mediator and guarantor for compiling and putting together a package of demands from both sides and will make sure they are implemented.”

    After talks with Qadri and General Sharif in the nearby garrison city of Rawalpindi, Khan returned to the rally venue and said his party will not back down from its main demand that Prime Minister Sharif resign before a judicial probe is opened into election fraud charges. 

    Neither the army nor government officials discussed details of the talks.

    The army is coming to the center of Pakistani politics at a time when the country is experiencing a sustained period of democratic rule. Sharif’s election as prime minister last year marked the first democratic transfer of power from one elected government to another.

    Critics believe Prime Minister Sharif’s decision to try the last military coup leader, former president Pervez Musharraf, for high treason, and his attempts to take control of Pakistan’s policies toward rival India and Afghanistan, have strained his ties with the military.

    While the army is unlikely to grab power at a time when chronic economic, security and energy challenges are facing Pakistan, some analysts do not rule out the possibility of the military’s involvement in encouraging the anti-government protests in order to retain its share in key national matters.  

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Ali Nizamuddin from: Houston, Texas
    August 29, 2014 9:16 AM
    Today is sad day in Pakistan. We have a paper tiger as Prime Minister in Pakistan and army has taken over the country. The army will not let it go, since they are used extreme lavish life style. Some one, please someone come and help poor Pakistanis who are starving, without clean water, electrical power and medicine. Politicians and generals are stealing money by Billions.

    by: Erik from: UAE
    August 29, 2014 6:29 AM
    How can this be a Democratic process when the Army becomes the mediator. You will never hear of a dude become Prime Minister of his country more than once, in any other country including India, which is truly a Democratic Nation. Nawaz Sharif is a failed leader because he has become Prime Minister of his country thrice without living up to his promises while setting the record for nepotism and kick backs. A real Democratic solution would be if Nawaz Sherif resigns on the face of this Mass Protest because real democracy is for the People, by the People

    by: Nauman from: Lahore
    August 29, 2014 12:48 AM
    Pak Army did not "step in" our so called government begged them to step in

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora