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Pak protesters refuse to leave avenue despite court orders

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - 21:39

Islamabad: Pakistan's opposition leader Imran Khan and fiery cleric Tahir-ul Qadri have refused to vacate the Constitution Avenue here despite orders by the Supreme Court, the government's chief law officer told the court on Tuesday.

Attorney General Salman Butt told the apex court that Qadri's Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) were not ready to leave despite offers to shift their protests to an alternative place.

Thousands of supporters of Khan and Qadri have been staging a sit-in for a week on the Constitution Avenue on which the Parliament and the Supreme Court are situated. The protesters have blocked the main avenue for all traffic.

Butt yesterday met the lawyers of the protesters in the Pakistan Bar Council Library to seek compliance of court orders but was instead told that the protest leaders would not shift to another place.

Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti submitted a report to the court on the outcome of the meeting.

According to the report, Butt had asked the protesters to shift either to the new Parade Ground near Islamabad Highway or the Sports complex.

It also said that PTI lawyers said that their workers have not blocked any routes, while the PAT refused to leave but promised to clear the main road for traffic.

The five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk yesterday issued a 24-hour deadline for protesters to clear the Constitution Avenue and sought a report about implementation of orders.

Mulk had said that the fence of the court was being used by the protesters to dry their clothes.

Supporters of Khan and Qadri have been camping outside the Parliament building here for the last 12 days. They are calling for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's resignation, alleging vote rigging in last year's general election.

First Published: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - 21:39

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