ISLAMABAD: The government on Tuesday declared the demands made by Tahirul Qadri, chief of Tehrik-i-Minhaajul Quran (TMQ), unconstitutional and unlawful and refused to accept them, DawnNews quoted sources as saying.
The government's position came through after Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf held an emergency meeting in the wake of the developments since the arrival of Qadri and his supporters in Islamabad.
The meeting, which was attended by Khurshid Shah and several other federal ministers, decided to reject the demands put forward by the TMQ chief and declared those as unconstitutional and unlawful, DawnNews quoted sources as saying.
Qadri’s deadline to the government to voluntarily resign and dissolve all assemblies has also expired.
In the early hours of Tuesday, the TMQ chief had addressed tens of thousands of protesters in Islamabad giving the government until 11 am to resign and dissolve all assemblies.
“This president and prime minister…they are now ex-presidents and prime ministers. Their time is over. Dissolve the national and provincial assemblies by the morning. I am giving you until 11 am to step down or else the people will start making their own decisions,” Qadri had said.
“These millions of supporters have spoken. They have rejected your so-called mandate. You are no longer their representatives.”
A large crowd of supporters, by some estimates between 25,00 to 50,000, had poured into the federal capital early on Tuesday, led by Qadri, a cleric who many accuse of trying to sow political chaos ahead of elections.
Qadri, a Pakistani-Canadian who returned to Pakistan last month after years in Toronto, accuses the government of corruption and incompetence, and calls for sweeping reforms to be enacted by a caretaker administration before polls.