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Pakistani PM announces court probe into rigging allegations

Published on Aug 13, 2014 1:01 AM
People listen to a broadcast speech by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on a television in an electronics market in Islamabad on August 12, 2014. In a televised address to the nation, Mr Sharif said he was requesting the Supreme Court to form a commission to probe allegations of rigging of last year's elections. Mr Sharif's speech comes as opposition groups prepare to march on the capital on August 14, 2014 vowing to topple his government. -- PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday announced the Supreme Court would probe opposition allegations of rigging in last year's elections, in a bid to diffuse a growing political crisis that has unnerved his government.

The announcement was made two days ahead of the country's Independence Day celebrations, when followers of an opposition leader and a populist cleric plan to march on the capital to demand that Mr Sharif's government step down ahead of a fresh vote.

Mr Sharif's 2013 victory saw Pakistan's first-ever handover of power from one civilian-led government to another, in polls that local and foreign observers called credible.

Many analysts have said the opposition groups are playing into the hands of the country's powerful military establishment which wishes to cut the civilian government, with which it has several disagreements, down to size.

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