Qadri announces end to protest after government deal
[Dawn] Tehrik-e-Minhajul Koran (TMQ) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri late on Thursday announced an end to four days of anti-government protests by thousands of people after striking a deal with the government.
"Never mind. Everybody go home now."
A high level delegation struck a deal with the holy man after thousands of people largely paralysed the capital and put intense pressure on the government.
"Y'all go home. I'm going to Belgium."
The agreement was reached after hours of negotiation inside a bulletproof container the religious leader was using at the demonstration site.
"In Belgium I'm gonna weep over my mistress's grave."
Thousands of protesters packed into the main avenue running through the federal capital, danced and cheered when Qadri announced from the container that he had hammered out an agreement with the government.
"Then I'm gonna blow my brains out."
"We have reached an agreement. After getting the prime minister's signature, we will read it in out front of protesters," the TMQ chief told his supporters.
Tahirul Qadri, who supported a 1999 military coup, has been calling for the military to play a role in the formation of a caretaker administration in the run-up to elections due in May.
The government agreed with the holy man to dissolve the National Assembly before its term ends in mid-March, giving 90 days until elections are held, according to the "Islamabad Long March Declaration".
That would give time to make sure politicians are eligible to stand for elections.
The government also agreed that the caretaker administration, which normally precedes elections, would be chosen in consultation with all parties.
A declaration laying out the agreement between the government and Qadri was signed by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf as well as the high-level government officials who made up the negotiating team.
Posted by: Fred 2013-01-18