Pak govt opens dialogues with Qadri

Friday, January 18, 2013

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Islamabad: A Pakistani government delegation has opened talks with Islamic cleric Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, the organiser of this week's antigovernment demonstrations in Islamabad.

Qadri demanded the meeting in a speech to thousands of supporters in the Pakistani capital.

He threatened unspecified further actions if no officials showed up.

Representatives from four parties in the government coalition, led by Chaudry Shujaat Hussain of the Pakistan Muslim League Quaid party, took part in the talks.

The delegation included Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira and Minister of Law Farooq Naik.

Qadri has led protests since January 14 in the Pakistani capital calling for democratic and anticorruption reforms.

Qadri, who recently returned to Pakistan after years in Canada, has denied media speculation that he is backed by Pakistan's powerful military.

Copyright (c) 2013. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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