Islamabad: Political crisis in Pakistan took a new turn today with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif agreeing to face a murder case relating to the killing of 14 followers of cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, as Imran Khan kept up pressure insisting on the embattled premier's resignation.
For the second time in three days, Pakistan's powerful Army Chief Raheel Sharif today met the Prime Minister to discuss the over two weeks-long political turmoil.
The Prime Minister and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) discussed security matters and uncertainty created by the ongoing protests in the country, sources said.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Qadri have snapped communications with the official negotiators after the fifth round of talks failed to produce any result last night.
Softening its stand under pressure, the government today accepted a key demand of Qadri by agreeing to register a murder case against 21 people, including Prime Minister Sharif, for their alleged role in the clashes that killed 14 supporters of the cleric.
After the government's go-ahead, finally acting acting on a court order, police today registered a murder case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his brother Shahbaz Sharif, key Cabinet ministers and senior officials.
"The FIR has been registered on the order of the Lahore High Court (LHC)," Punjab police spokesperson Nabila Ghazanfar told PTI. She said the FIR had been registered on PAT's application.
Earlier, while addressing his supporters, camped outside the Parliament, Qadri said, "Till I don't see a checked copy of an FIR, such news should not be believed."
After talks with the government failed late last night, Qadri said, "I announce with regret that out talks with the government have failed. We will now shut the door on any further talks." Qadri had termed today as a 'Day of Revolution'.
Khan continued to demand Sharif's resignation, saying "I will not leave here. I will not accept this monarchy. I want real democracy."
"It has been decided that an FIR will be registered against Shahbaz Sharif, but he has decided that he will not resign," he said.
Amid mounting pressure from the protesters, Sharif chaired a high-level meeting in the capital to discuss the current political crisis, media reports said.
It was decided in the meeting that neither the premier nor Chief Minister Punjab province Shahbaz will step down and the federal and provincial assemblies will also not be dissolved, Dawn News reported.
During the meeting, Sharif also said he along with other ministers named in the FIR, will extend full cooperation in investigations into the Model Town incident.