Nawaz Sharif Raheel Sharif

By Mateen Haider

ISLAMABAD — With the protests in Islamabad taking on a violent turn and the army’s latest statements in relation to the crisis, a meeting began between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif at the PM House Monday afternoon.

Sources told Dawn that the army chief was taking the prime minister into confidence over the discussions held during the corps commanders meeting on Sunday evening on the prevailing political crisis.

Both Nawaz and Raheel are expected to chalk out a strategy to resolve the impasse which has resulted in at least three deaths and scores of injuries.

The prime minster has been holding consultations with his senior political and government aides since Sunday’s meeting of the top army commanders. Nawaz has also called Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to rush to Islamabad.

Meanwhile, a session of the National Assembly will begin later today during which the prevailing situation will likely be discussed.

Today’s meeting between Raheel and Nawaz will likely have a serious bearing on the prevailing scenario with it coming a day after the corps commander met on the prevailing crisis and affirmed the army’s support for democracy.

The meeting comes a day after the army said it was “reaffirming support to democracy” and reiterated that the ongoing standoff between the Nawaz government and the Pakistan Tehreek-I-Insaaf (PTI), Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) needed a political solution.

Critical Stage

The plan to oust the PML-N led government and topple Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from power is reaching critical mass.

The last 48 hours saw the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) anti-government protests morph Islamabad’s Red Zone from a concert ground to a bloody battlefield, with at least three people killed and hundreds injured.

The deadly confrontation shows little signs of letting up, as both Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri have encouraged their supporters to battle on, while negotiations with the government appear to be going nowhere – despite the Pakistan Army playing the role of ‘mediator’.

Demanding Sharif’s resignation, the protesters remain camped outside government offices, armed with sticks and wearing gas masks, tried to break through police lines.–

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