Pakistan cleric to end protest after deal with gov't

By REUTERS
January 17, 2013 19:44

 
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ISLAMABAD - A Muslim cleric calling for the Pakistani government to resign said on Thursday he had reached an agreement with the administration and would call a halt to the street protests in Islamabad that triggered a political crisis four days ago.

Muhammad 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.

"We have reached an agreement. After getting the prime minister's signature, we will read it in out front of protesters," Qadri told his supporters.

It is not yet clear what concessions he may have secured in talks with a delegation from the coalition government hours before his announcement of an agreement.

But the deal may ease pressure on the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP), which has come under fire for failing to tackle a range of problems, from a Taliban insurgency to a weak economy.

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