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No option but army mediation to end Pakistan crisis: Minister

Published on Aug 29, 2014 6:06 PM
Mr Imran Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party, addresses supporters as children wave PTI's flag, in front of the Parliament building during the Revolution March in Islamabad on August 29, 2014. Former cricketer Imran Khan and Sufi cleric Tahir ul-Qadri, who controls a network of Islamic schools and hospitals, have been leading protests in the capital, Islamabad, trying to bring down Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistan's Interior Minister said on Friday that the intransigence of anti-government protest movements had left no alternative but mediation by the army to end a two-week political crisis that has shaken the nuclear-armed nation.

The country's powerful army chief, General Raheel Sharif, was named mediator on Thursday in the standoff between the government and protesters led by populist cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan.

The move has raised fears of increased military dominance over the civilian government in a country ruled for more than half its life by the army.

Thousands of demonstrators led by Mr Khan and Mr Qadri are camped outside the Parliament building in Islamabad demanding the prime minister step down. More than a week of government efforts to negotiate an end to the stand-off made little headway, with Mr Khan adamant that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif must resign.

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