Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha
Islamabad: As Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan toughened his anti-government stance, calling on thousands of protesters to practise civil disobedience by not paying taxes, the Pakistan government appeared gearing up to control the situation as it agreed to accept their “legal” and “constitutional” demands.
The government appears to be struggling to trying to contain the situation after Imran Khan handed a 48-hour ultimatum to Nawaz Sharif to resign.
Earlier, PAT chief Tahirul Qadri, too, had set a 48-hour deadline for the government to dissolve itself.
In what are the biggest anti-government challenges yet to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who took office last year in the first democratic transfer of power, Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri, have been leading huge protest rallies against the government for a fourth day, demanding his resignation on the claims that last year`s elections were rigged.
Imran has been demanding nothing short of Nawaz Sharif`s resignation before he comes to the negotiating table.
To a thick crowd of some 15000 people, Imran said, "We decide today that we will not pay taxes to his illegitimate government, we will not pay electricity bills, gas bills...I urge all the traders to stop paying taxes."
Nawaz Sharif should resign as ppl have given their verdict on fraudulent elections by coming out in huge nos 4 PTI Tsunami. 1/2
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 17, 2014
Upset by the double whammy of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri, who the government has agreed to accept the “constitutional and legal demands of the two protesting parties”.
Addressing a news briefing, Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan said that in order to defuse the current political situation, the government will form two committees to negotiate with Imran Khan`s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Tahirul Qadri`s Pakistan Awami Tahreek (PAT).
Govt has decided to constitute two committees to hold dialogue with PTI and PAT to defuse political situation, Interior Minister
— Radio Pakistan (@RadioPakistan) August 17, 2014
The formation of the committees, that will consist of members from various political parties other than PML (N), will be finalised by Monday, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said.
Meanwhile, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain described PTI chief`s announcement of civil obedience a joke and called for a dialogue.
— Radio Pakistan (@RadioPakistan) August 18, 2014
Also, former President and Co-Chairperson of Pakistan People`s Party Asif Ali Zardari warned against Imran`s call for civil disobedience, saying it could harm democracy, reported the Radio Pakistan.
In a statement, he said people should not be instigated for civil disobedience movement.