Pakistan’s Qadri Gives Sharif 48 Hours to Dissolve Assembly

Pakistani cleric Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, who has been leading a 12-day protest, gave Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif 48 hours to dissolve the parliament and call fresh elections, or face consequences.

“Go home in these 48 hours,” Qadri said in a speech to supporters in Islamabad today. “I will not be responsible for what happens after that.”

Qadri, opposition leader Imran Khan and thousands of their supporters are camping outside parliament, demanding Sharif step down while an inquiry into allegations of rigging in last year’s election is completed. The demonstrations threaten to end Sharif’s tenure 15 months after winning an election that marked the first democratic transfer of power in Pakistan’s 67-year history.

“Sharif has no right to remain Prime Minister and should resign,” Khan told protesters today. “I’m not going anywhere till he resigns.” The government will be responsible if pro-government and anti-government protesters clash, he said.

Sharif’s party said today they would hold pro-government demonstrations to counter the opposition demand for the prime minister’s resignation.

Pakistan’s rupee fell the most since 2009 before recovering 0.6 percent today. The benchmark KSE 100 Index fell 1.2 percent at close, the most in two weeks.

Qadri has accused the Punjab government, led by Sharif’s younger brother Shahbaz, of ordering police to kill 14 of his workers in a clash in June.

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