Sharif offers to face murder case; cleric Qadri rejects

Sharif offers to face murder case; cleric Qadri rejects
In a bid to defuse Pakistan’s political crisis, prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday agreed to face a case of murder of 14 supporters of cleric Tahir-ul- Qadri who rejected it saying terror charges should also be slapped on the Premier.

Police in Lahore finally registered the murder case against prime minister Sharif, his brother and Punjab province chief minister Shahbaz, key Cabinet ministers and senior officials for their alleged role in the killing of Qadri’s supporters in the Model Town area, meeting a major demand of the fiery cleric. ‘The FIR has been registered on the order of the Lahore High Court (LHC),’ Punjab police spokesperson Nabila Ghazanfar told PTI. She said the FIR had been registered on PAT’s application.

However, the cleric was not satisfied with the government’s concession, saying ‘I do not accept this FIR, until the Terrorism Act is included in it.’

For the second time in three days, Pakistan’s powerful Army Chief Raheel Sharif on Thursday met the Prime Minister to discuss the over two weeks-long political turmoil.

The Prime Minister and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) discussed security matters and uncertainty created by the ongoing protests in the country, sources said.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Qadri have snapped communications with the official negotiators after the fifth round of talks failed to produce any result last night. Qadri termed supporters of PTI and his party as first cousins. He said that he and PTI Chairman Khan were brothers.

‘On Thursday is the day to get freedom from economic and social exploitation. More than 100 million poor of this country are slaves of this corrupt and unjust system,’ the PAT chief said.

‘Our rulers have money when it comes to corruption, buying journalists and anchorpersons and living a lavish life style...but, there is no money to resolve issues concerning poor masses of the country,’ Qadri said.

Khan continued to demand Sharif’s resignation, saying ‘I will not leave. I will not accept this monarchy. I want real democracy.’

‘It has been decided that an FIR will be registered against Shahbaz Sharif, but he has decided that he will not resign,’ he said.

Amid mounting pressure from the protesters, Sharif chaired a high-level meeting in the capital to discuss the current political crisis, media reports said.

It was decided in the meeting that neither the premier nor Chief Minister Punjab province Shahbaz will step down and the federal and provincial assemblies will also not be dissolved, Dawn News reported.

During the meeting, Sharif also said he along with other ministers named in the FIR, will extend full cooperation in investigations into the Model Town incident. The Lahore Sessions Court hearing the case related to the clashes had ordered police to register a murder case earlier this month against 21 persons named by the Qadri-led PAT in its complaint.


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