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I won’t resign no matter what: PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Sunday that he would not in any case resign from the position of the chief executive of the country. Nawaz said he would not succumb to the pressure of a few thousand people who have made the capital hostage. The premier ignored the advice of close aides to remain at his residence in Lahore in view of the increased tension in Islamabad’s Red Zone and returned to the capital on Sunday afternoon to take stock of the developing situation. Immediately on arrival in the capital, the prime minister chaired an emergency, high-level meeting to discuss critical issues, including attempts by the demonstrators to move towards the Prime Minister’s House and entry into the lawn of parliament. The meeting condemned attacks on the symbols of state. The steps taken by police and security forces to defend and defeat such acts were appreciated, an official statement said. It was said that the government had adopted the path of negotiation, but was betrayed by the protesting parties which launched an invasion despite prior commitment to not do so. It was agreed that this undemocratic onslaught should be withdrawn and parties should come back to the negotiation table, the statement added. The government convened a joint sitting of parliament tomorrow (Tuesday) to discuss the political crisis at hand, the official statement said. A last-minute change of plan after the ISPR statement meant that the government would only act if marchers tried to invade important government buildings. Apparently, it was taken as a snub for Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan-led administration as well as a dampener for Imran-Qadri led campaign that was taken by important quarters as an over kill. An official government statement said the step to convene joint sitting of parliament was taken in agreement with the proposal of leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah and leader of opposition in Senate Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan. The Ministry of Interior was directed to utilise all resources to ensure protection of state institutions without loss of life. Meeting condemned few unauthorised acts of violence against media, which resulted in injuries and damage to their equipment, the statement further added. The prime minister directed the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage to start immediate investigation of these incidents and promptly ensure verified compensation mechanism. In their quest for a final push against the PML-N government, the march leaders stuck to their ground even as their crowds thinned on Sunday at the Constitution Avenue after overnight clashes with riot police, and instead vowed to reach the PM House to stage a sit-in there. The government, on the other hand, prepared police and administration to launch a crackdown in the wee hours of Monday.

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