Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has convened a joint session to discuss the country’s crisis with a view to rallying support against protesters who are calling for his resignation.
The session, which is expected to continue for a week, comes a day after supporters of opposition leaders, Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri, briefly occupied state TV building in the capital, Islamabad. Broadcast was resumed following paramilitary soldiers intervention.
Khan and Qadri have been calling for the resignation of Sharif over allegations of vote rigging in the last year’s general elections won by Sharif’s party.
But Khawaja Asif, Pakistan’s Defence Minister said the PM will never resign come what may.
Sharif held meeting with Army Chief General, Raheel Sharif yesterday (Monday) to discuss the situation.
At the end of its meeting, the military issued a statement on the same day, denying rumours reported on local media that the army chief had asked PM Sharif to resign. The statement described the army as an “apolitical institution” that did not take sides in the political stalemate.
Protesters have been attempting to storm the prime minister’s official residence since Saturday night, prompting an outbreak of violence which has resulted in three deaths and more than 595 people injured, including 115 police officers.
Khan and Qadri have since distanced themselves from the attack on PTV, calling on supporters not to enter government buildings.
Following Monday’s attack, the government has filed paperwork asking for a legal case to be filed against Qadri, Khan and hundreds of their supporters under anti-terrorism laws for inciting their supporters to damage and invade state buildings and attacking security forces.
On Tuesday morning, Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party and Pakistan Awami Tehreek, the movement led by Qadri, continued their nearly three weeks of protest at Islamabad’s Constitutional Avenue, where government buildings are located.