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Pakistan’s ex-premier calls off planned sit-in, demands vote

ISLAMABAD (AP) – Pakistan’s defiant former Prime Minister Imran Khan cancelled a planned, open-ended sit-in in Islamabad yesterday, temporarily assuaging fears of protracted civil conflict after he led thousands on a march toward Parliament demanding the government’s resignation.

Khan’s followers began converging on the capital on Wednesday, with some 10,000 reaching the city centre around midnight.

Khan himself entered as part of a large convoy of cars, buses and trucks, with demonstrators waving flags and rallying overnight.

Khan gave Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif – who replaced him in April – less than a week to call for new elections, warning that if his government didn’t comply, he’d return to the capital with three million supporters.

“I am giving you six days,” Khan said from a sound truck parked on the central Jinnah Avenue early yesterday, demanding the dissolution of Parliament as well. “If you don’t do it after six days, I will return,” he said.

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan (C) addresses supporters during an anti government rally, in Islamabad, Pakistan. PHOTO: AP
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