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Pakistan's Imran Khan left isolated in civil disobedience call

Published on Aug 18, 2014 5:22 PM
 
Pakistani cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan raises his fist as he attends a rally after a populist cleric issued a 48-hour ultimatum demanding the arrest of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, on Aug 17, 2014 in Islamabad. Pakistan's opposition parties distanced themselves on Monday, Aug 18, from Mr Khan's call for mass civil disobedience to unseat the government, as talks began to try to end a destabilising five-day political stand-off. -- PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistan's opposition parties distanced themselves on Monday from Mr Imran Khan's call for mass civil disobedience to unseat the government, as talks began to try to end a destabilising five-day political stand-off.

Mr Khan, the former cricket star who leads the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party, led thousands of supporters from the eastern city of Lahore to rally in Islamabad to demand the government resign. On Sunday he appealed to the people to stop paying utility bills and taxes to the current government, accusing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of plundering the national wealth to enrich his business empire.

Mr Khan and populist cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, who led his own "long march" from Lahore, claim the May 2013 general election that Mr Sharif won in a landslide was rigged. They had promised to mobilise hundreds of thousands of supporters to capitalise on popular dissatisfaction with the corruption, power cuts and insecurity that blight daily life in Pakistan and oust the government.

But Mr Khan was left looking increasingly isolated on Monday as mass support failed to materialise and other opposition parties refused to rally to his call.

 
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