Pakistani leaders reject protesters
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's embattled civilian leadership declared on Wednesday it would not succumb to large anti-government protests, calling the demands made by demonstrators unrealistic because they require changes to the country's constitution.
Thousands of protesters near parliament say they want the dissolution of federal and provincial legislatures, the establishment of nonpartisan election commissions that can keep corrupt incumbents off the ballot, and the creation of a neutral caretaker administration that can govern until national elections are held.
“There is no space in the constitution for such things,” said Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira. “It's not possible.”
But protest leader Tahir ul-Qadri, a Canadian-Pakistani religious scholar, said President Asif Ali Zardari's government must meet the demands to end large sit-in rallies that have paralyzed the capital for three days and ramped up pressure on an administration many in the country regard as inefficient and corrupt.
Qadri has kept legions of followers from leaving the venue for the sit-in — a main avenue that leads to parliament — despite nighttime temperatures that have dropped to 37 degrees. He has revved up the estimated 40,000 rally participants with daily speeches that lambaste the country's current political leaders and lawmakers as “political thieves.”
Many analysts have speculated that Pakistan's powerful military, which has had an acrimonious relationship with Zardari, is orchestrating the movement to keep his government from winning another five-year term in office, a charge that both the army and Qadri deny. Analysts worry that the protest movement may keep the country, plagued by a history of military takeovers, in turmoil.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Egyptian President al-Sisi feels vindicated in crackdown as Islamic extremists rise
- It’s not a small world after all: Global population estimated to soar
- Turkish hostages freed from Islamic State, but questions linger
- London must keep promises to Scotland, former Prime Minister Brown says
- North Korea sentences American to 6 years of hard labor
- Scientists snatch giant opportunity
- 21 massacred in Mexico, witnesses say
- Scots reject independence from United Kingdom in historic vote
- Blasts kill dozens in Baghdad area
- Floods paralyze Manila
- Islamic State frees 49 hostages