Imran Khan, left, raises his arm before his supporters as his party leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi, right, looks on during a protest in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014.— AP Photo
— Screengrab from opposition 'jirga' press conference
Nawaz Sharif inside Parliament today
An anti-government protester sits atop a container while his fellow protester sleeps, in front of the President House, Islamabad, Sept 3, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Imran Khan addresses supporters while flanked by Tahirul Qadri in Islamabad. -Reuters Photo
The political turmoil in Pakistan continues unabated, with a largely united parliament on one side, and the Pakistan Tehreek-I-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek on the other.
A joint session of Parliament saw all parties put aside their differences to stand against what they termed were attempts to derail the democratic process. Estranged PTI MNA Javed Hashmi announced his resignation from the National Assembly and embraced his former party leader and now PM Nawaz Sharif.
Meanwhile, Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri continued their protests jointly, reiterating their demand that both Nawaz Sharif and Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif have to resign.
The red zone remains tense, with thousands of protesters and as many security personnel maintaining a delicate equilibrium.
Follow live updates below.
PTI, govt meeting ends
The meeting between the government committee and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has concluded. The government committee — Ishaq Dar, Zahid Hamid and Chaudhry Shafi (a sugar industrialist who is a relative of the PM) — and PTI team comprising Asad Umar, Jahagir Tareen and Shah Mehmood Qureshi left without speaking to reporters.
The meeting lasted nearly 45 minutes.
Praying at Constitution Avenue
Protester offers evening prayers as others occupied a roundabout in front of parliament building, background — AP photo
"Don't think I do not know what is happening. When I am standing here [gestures to mobile stage], I keep an eye on everything," he says to supporters.
Dozens of PTI flags are waved by men, women and children gathered at Constitution Avenue.
Rehman Malik meets Zardari
Senator Rehman Malik is meeting PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to brief on the outcome of his earlier meeting with the PTI and opposition jirga.
Imran Khan takes the podium
"All my life long training… it seems god was preparing me for this fight," Imran says, as his party members engage in dialogue with the government negotiating committee.
"When I used to go to the smaller areas of Mianwali and in villages, I saw people living in miserable conditions. Pakistan has the highest incidents of children deaths from drinking dirty water."
"500 people are bleeding the country dry... they wear different garbs. One pretends to be a maulana, the other poses to be secular."
He harks back to the reasons behind why he took to the streets.
I will play cricket with you: Qadri
Bats, balls and see-saws for children
Qadri appeals for swings, slides, see-saws and toys for children present at the dharna. "Send school books, rhyme books, colour pencils, drawing books... so these children are engaged.
He also urges his members to send bats and balls. "I will play with you myself," says Qadri, much to the delight of his supporters.
"Mattresses, beds must be provided and they will only be removed when these people are cleared out."
Qadri also asks for toffees, biscuits, chocolate, milk for young children, along with medicines for cough and cold. He mentions Hydralin cough syrup for children.
'We are here you must go', chants ring at Qadri protest site. He calls for a revolution and freedom cricket match.
Qadri shows picture of Attack on Supreme Court in late 90s, lashes out at Nawaz and PML-N. "You are the initiators of attacks on state institutions," Qadri tells PML-N
Dharna will end if thousands don't join us: Qadri
"If within three days a sea of hundreds of thousands don't support the march, W will call the protest to an end," Qadri says.
He repeats, "The dharna will be over, the dharna will be over!"
Moments later, he makes a contradicting statement, "Until resignations are not handed in, we will not retreat."
Qadri's stern message to Khurshid Shah
Qadri threatens the NA opposition leader. "Khurshid Shah watch yourself otherwise things may get out of hand," he says.
"Your party has been accused of breaking up Pakistan into two, " he says to Shah. "Shah is giving patronage to terrorists in Sindh."
"I request Asif Zardari to tell Khurshid Shah to watch his tongue."
PML-N attacked PTV building: Qadri
Qadri denies PTI, PAT workers storming the PTV building earlier.
"During last nights speech, Imran Khan and I both adamantly rejected the idea that we were responsible for attack on PTV building. We did not even know that TV building is even within route to PM house."
"The attack was carried out by PML-N and responsibility lies with Nawaz, and federal ministers. Their trained Gullu Butts were responsible for the attack."
Qadri back to the podium
Addressing his workers, Dr Tahirul Qadri takes note of ANP lawmaker Abdul Nabi Bangash's blooper earlier today in the NA session, where he accidentally called Nawaz Sharif the president of Pakistan.
"Today I want to speak about something very important, during parliament’s session today one MNA said that PM Nawaz is this Parliaments elected President until someone corrected him that he is PM," says Qadri.
"The truth is that Nawaz is both President and PM of this country. He has always wanted to hold all levers of power."
MQM delays general workers meeting
The MQM has postponed its meeting, which was earlier announced to take place today at 6pm.
On call of the meeting by their party chief, MQM workers were already gathered at the Jinnah Ground.
The MQM chief is expected to address his supporters at 6 pm tomorrow (Thursday).
Love produces love: Rehman Malik
Speaking to reporters after meeting the PTI, Rehman Malik said, “Love produces love...Today, PTI showed maturity and didn't say anything negative."
"I request the PM’s team not to talk about any individual. We have also requested the PAT committee to resolve the issue through dialogue."
Rehman Malik lauded the role of the opposition 'jirga' played a vital role in ending the deadlock.
"Everyone wants a peaceful solution. I believe that in the next 24 yo 48 hours, things will normalise. The perception that politicians have completely failed, I don’t think so this is true. It is the [who are] politicians trying for a long time for solutions to end the ongoing crisis."
A productive meeting with PTI
Speaking to reporters after meeting with the opposition jirga — JI's SIrajul Haq and Liaquat Baloch; PPP's Rehman Malik, Kulsoom Parveen from BNP-Awami and Mian Aslam — PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi said his party is ready to move ahead. "PTI has agreed to move forward in a democratic manner. PTI will meet government’s delegation at 8pm today."
In the joint media briefing, Sirajul Haq said, "It has been a productive meeting There is still a deadlock, but 70% of the work has been done. We believe there will a concrete solution soon."
"I would like to advise the government to refrain from issuing statements, which spread negativity. If both sides show patience, then we are not far in ending this crisis," he added.
No democracy has perfect polls: Ahsan Iqbal
Federal Minister Ahsan Iqbal
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said during a press conference that no democracy in the world has perfect elections.
"Even in the United States and India there are problems during the polling process," he said.
"There were no PML-N members in caretaker setup… most were from the PPP," said Ahsan Iqbal.
He further stated that the Election Commission was for the first time constituted across party lines and that even Imran Khan applauded Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim.
Imran arrives at sit-in in Islamabad
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has arrived at the sit-in taking place in Islamabad, DawnNews reported.
Opposition 'jirga' meets PTI again
An opposition 'jirga', led by Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Emir Sirajul Haq is holding talks with PTI leadership again.
Other than Siraj, the jirga comprises Rehman Malik from PPP, Kulsoom Parveen from BNP-Awami and Liaquat Baloch from JI, DawnNews reported.
'Nawaz is Sharif in more than name'
Opposition Leader Khurshid Shah says:
"Nawaz is truly Sharif in more than name".
"I am grateful that the prime minister agreed to call the joint session on my advice. Parliament had to battle it out which it did by passing the joint resolution that the prime minister will not resign."
The session adjourns till 11am, Thursday.
'PAT is not a political party, has nefarious designs'
Opposition Leader Khurshid Shah continues:
"It's a victory of the House that a leader of the PTI came and said that his party is not involved in an underhanded conspiracy against Parliament. -that it is the PAT which appears to be involved in shady dealings...it is clear that PTI is now against PAT."
"Tahirul Qadri does not accept the Constitution, doesn't accept democracy. PAT is not a political party. It has nefarious designs."
Decision to let Shah Mehmood Qureshi speak was correct, Shah argues
Opposition Leader Khurshid Shah speaks on the floor of the House:
"We feel today that Parliament has won".
"Honourable speaker, we will agree with whatever you decide. The decision you took today to let Shah Mehmood Qureshi speak was in light of the Constitution and democracy. Yesterday we welcomed Javed Hashmi, Maulana sahab, we should not have double standards."
"Maulana sahab why didn't you object to Javed Hashmi's arrival and speech in the House."
MQM legislators asked to submit resignations to convener
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Members of the National Assembly, Sindh Assembly and Senate have been asked to submit their resignations from the Parliament to deputy convener Dr Nusrat Shaukat.
"They are submitting their resignations because of the drama going on in Pakistan for one month," said a party member while requesting anonymity.
When asked if this move is a bid to express solidarity with the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), the official said no.
'Did Shah Mehmood Qureshi have the right to speak?'
Maulana Fazlur Rehman takes the floor.
"The unity that the House exhibited today is commendable and nothing should come between us."
"Shah Mehmood Qureshi was saying that he wants to resolve the impasse...the question is not whether he said the right things or not, but whether he had the right to speak in the House today."
"We want the honourable speaker to clarify the doubts that have emerged regarding the arrival of PTI members to the House. Was it legal? Did they come in and submit their resignations themselves?"
"Parties resign from the House to shake Parliament but the conspiracy has been exposed."
'Constitution has been violated'
screengrab of Tariqullah
Sahibzada Tariqullah speaks on the floor of the House.
"This Parliament is our mother. If anyone humiliates Parliament, that person is our enemy, an enemy of the people. All those sitting outside are violators of the Constitution. We had advised the government not to let PTI and PAT come to Islamabad from Lahore."
"The whole House is united today that the prime minister should not resign. Today 20-25k are here , tomorrow some others will come and ask for the resignation of another prime minister?"
Is this a 'soft coup', asks Bangash
Bangash laments that those who stormed the building of PTV "were patted on the back" and asked to leave.
"No one was arrested. It is being said that a soft coup has already happened."
"What kind of situation is this that we have to come to the House from backdoors while these riffraffs camp outside Parliament," he asks.
"Government must explain...a government can only with respect, without respect, governments cannot function."
Nawaz is not the PM of N-league: Bangash
Bangash continue, "I do not agree with the PML-N's style of governance...he is the elected prime minister of Pakistan, not of PML-N but of the House, the country."
He criticises PTI chairman Imran Khan. "We spent years in jail when Imran left his workers in the open air and went to Bani Gala to have a good time."
He urges the government to make clear whether it invoked Article 245 to deal with the situation or whether it felt pressure.
Abdul Nabi Bangash instead takes the floor
ANP lawmaker Abdul Nabi Bangash addresses NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, "Honourable speaker you should have asked the PTI MNA whether he stood by his resignation or wanted to take it back?"
"If he takes it back, we should allow it. And we should allow him to Parliament."
"Imran and Qadri are two sides of the same coin and we saw the drop scene of this film last evening when the two got together."
PM Nawaz back in House
PM Nawaz Sharif makes his way back to the Assembly, moments after the PTI legislators left the building.
Why was PTI allowed to humiliate us, asks Sherpao
"I agree with Achakzai," Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, the head of Qaumi Watan Part says.
"Why was the PTI lawmaker allowed to humiliate the House members and then allowed to leave," he demands.
Achakzai speaks on floor
After a brief spell of chaos in the House, Sadiq invites Mahmood Khan Achakzai of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party to speak.
"Those who have resigned, you let them speak Honourable Speaker, " he says.
He said the attack on Parliament was not right, but there are people in the Pakstan Secretariat with batons. "I want your guarantee and Khurshid Shah's guarantee."
"We want to have a well worded resolution saying that attack on Parliament, PTV, Secretariat are violations of Constitution... And everyone should sign it."
"There should be no dialogue with PTI until their parliamentarians sign that resolution," he says.
He adds that if Imran and Qadri are indeed not one, the previous day's handshake has to be disowned.
There is more ruckus on PTI resignations, Sadiq clarifies that he will deal with issue of resignation in the speaker's chamber
No leader is perfect: Qureshi
At the end of his speech, Qureshi says, "No leader has been perfect, let's not go into that because there are many skeletons in the closet and we want to make a new beginning."
He adds, "I was the only district nazim who refused to shake hands with Musharraf."
"All we have done is for Pakistan, for the coming generations, not for Imran Khan." He thanks Hasil Bizenjo for his statements, and says that although he criticised him, he hold him in high esteem.
Bizenjo reacts to Qureshi's compliment
Ayaz Sadiq tells Qureshi, "Please come to my chamber Makhdoom sahab after the session. I want to discuss some issues, including resignation."
Amidst cross-talk and raucous behaviour from charged MNAs, PTI lawmakers leave the House.
We want fair elections: Qureshi
Qureshi says his party wants Pakistan's election system to be transparent and to ensure the holding of a free and fair election.
"PTI says let's create a system...and we are out to fight this war...join us...the war to create a system to ensure a free and fair poll."
"All elections became controversial...2013 election...PTI wasn't the only that said it was a polluted poll...PPP did, so did many others, not just Imran Khan or PTI...people have rejected the 2013 election saying it was not transparent."
Qureshi says that 'Naya Pakistan' means free and fair elections and the rule of law.
"Let's go beyond our egos [desk thumping] and let's look for a better future for Pakistan. And let the true representatives of the people come to the House."
"That's the dream of my leader, the dream that hasn't come true since Pakistan was founded," Qureshi says.
Qureshi expresses gratitude for the role of the opposition, Sirajul Haq, "for spending time with us till very late to work on the situation".
Islamabad witnessed a bloodbath: Qureshi
Qureshi says the Islamabad police started the bloodbath, and that people were killed, injured and sprayed with bullets.
"Islamabad police started the bloodbath. The government said they will give a reply but instead Islamabad police attacked peaceful protesters," he says.
PM resignation is a sticking point
Qureshi says "we have no differences on the prosperity of Pakistan".
"We had developed differences on the issue of the PM's resignation. Government said it was a non-negotiation."
Desk thumping, and disapproving boos interrupt his speech.
"We have to be honest to the house. Dar said it's no longer our problem only and the Parliament has adopted a joint resolution and that the government is bound to the resolution."
Qureshi says, "We asked you to take the working paper...in all your meeting you didn;t bring a single piece of paper and only had verbal discussions with us."
Ayaz Sadiq brings SMQ's attention to his face saying Makhdoom sahab I'm sitting here.
Where do we go from here, asks Qureshi
In an impassioned speech, Qureshi asks, "Where do we go from here? We are stuck in this position? I may be wrong you may be right. You may be wrong I may be right. But we are in an impasse and that is why we have called a joint session to resolve it."
Signalling to the federal finance minister, Qureshi says, "Ask Ishaq Dar, he was heading the government committee, can they recognise the fact that 5.5 points that we agreed to implies there was constructive engagement?"
MNA's interrupt Qureshi's speech, and an irate Ishaq Dar speaks out of turn, trembling with rage, refuting Qureshi's statement.
Dar gestures angrily, interrupts Qureshi's speech
Qureshi in response says that the matter will be addressed in the 4PM meeting today. " Okay I will not touch upon that and will meet opposition jirga at 4 and tell them everything."
" I gave Dar a seven-page long working paper on all the issues and doubts on people's minds. I will also tell where we got the guidance from... from Abdul Hafeez Pirzada — Pirzada has a legal and political mind."
"I welcome you to read that paper," Qureshi says.
I urged people not to storm Parliament: Qureshi
Qureshi says that when news came of people entering the precincts of the Parliament, he discouraged it. "I swear I said this is not right! People vacate the lawns. This is not what we stand for Mr Speaker!"
He describes the scenes of that night, when PAT and PTI crossed red lines to get onto Constitution Avenue. "People were running into Parliament Lodges to save themselves from the tear gas and the use of force."
"My fellow parliamentarians-- Arif Alvi, Asad Umar, Shirin Mazari-- were identified and harassed by law enforcment personnel even though they are members of parliament."
"Media personnel were attacked and dragged out of DSNGs."
Live bullets were used against protesters: Qureshi
In a dramatic speech, Qureshi says that his workers have been manhandled and threatened, "1,000s of PTI activists have been apprehended. PTI workers are being threatened. The use of force was also very clear to all of us."
"People are getting treating in PIMs, there is evidence that the bullet was not a rubber bullet but a live one. boos from lawmakers."
PM Nawaz has exited the building
The Prime Minister is not visible in the National Assembly building. Channels reported that Nawaz Sharif exited when Shah Mehmood Qureshi began to speak.
PAT has its own thinking: Qureshi
Qureshi says he had discussed with the PAT chief how they would maintain separated agendas. "I went and took the four proposals to Qadri and said that if you agree then we will move forward. We will maintain our distinct identities and this was announced in a press conference where PAT announced its agreement with the four points," he says,
"But we cannot dictate to PAT. It a different party and has its own thinking."
Model Town was horrific: Qureshi
Lambasting the government for the Model Town clash that resulted in the deaths of 12 PAT workers, he says, "Please understand why things took the shape they did. Understand what happened in Model Town in Lahore? There were shot at, martyred."
He says he went to the hospital to visit the injured, who had sustained bullet wounds. "It was horrific what I saw."
"Understand the frustration, the helplessness of the people," he urges."I went to Minhajul Quran because Imran wanted us to find out what had happened to those people."
PTI has no rogue elements: Qureshi
Qureshi says his party's aim is to remain peaceful. "PTI has no rogue elements. We are a political party."
"Does it make sense that after getting the second highest number of votes we would want to attack the Parliament? I know how Zulfikar Bhutto worked for the Constitution. I worked with Benazir and I know her frame of mind and the spirit behind the Charter of Democracy.".
PTI stayed within the law: Qureshi
"The sit in remained peaceful. PTI stayed within the law. We stayed within the law..I can speak for my party," Qureshi continues.
He delves into the period before his party marched into Islamabad's high-security red zone. "When we were moving from Kashmir road to D-chowk, we were worried if things may become critical...we made everyone promise that none of our activists will enter government buildings."
"Qadri said he and his activists will go ahead...Imran called all of us and said this might become problematic, this will create trouble for the people but the people had been the whole time."
He continues, "Imran told me Qureshi things are getting out of hand, you go and sort this out...I want to bring this on record I went and I begged. I begged Qadri but he said I did what I could but now the crowd is not in my hands."
"I said, no Qadri sahab this is not something we can allow and you have to stop or others will take advantage of this. He said you go and talk to them. I went and talked to the people; but people booed at me."
Khurshid Shah appeals for calm
As the din in the Assembly grows, leader of opposition Khurshid Shah on the floor of the House, says, "We are here to talk and listen, so don';t become a hindrance and listen to whoever is speaking. We are here after going through a difficult path, so I respect and appeal people on both sides of the House not to create a hindrance and let the person talk."
Qureshi resumes his speech and sayd, "I thank the opposition leader for his democratic thinking."
Elections were not transparent: Qureshi
Repeating his party's claims of election rigging — which forms the basis of PTI's anti-government protest — Qureshi says, "Imran Khan said his from his sick bed that the elections were not transparent, our mandate was stolen, our rights were trampled upon...in his speech in NA, he asked the government to scrutinise 4 constituencies...so that if there are any problems, that can become clear."
"Imran had said then only that if the government does not facilitate this...I will come out on the streets and he did," Qureshi adds, reiterating his party leader's position.
He touches upon the Gujranwala incident, where he says footage showsPTI activists being harassed.
"My residence was attacked by a PML-N office bearer and his accomplices...but we came here to talk, not to fight."
"It was said that the Parliament would be stormed but I said Parliament is my home.." he says, as MNAs let out resounding boos.
We came in peace: Qureshi
"People should be allowed to hold peaceful protests. Our detractors said if we came to the capital, there'd be blood. But people were welcoming our march in all the cities that we passed," says Qureshi.
Lawmakers make comments to which Qureshi responds: "Yes don't believe me, you're free not to."
As lawmakers bring the NA speaker's attention to the Parliament break-in, Ayaz Sadiq says: "I will talk about the Parliament gate myself." Sadiq urges the legislators not to cross-talk.
"We had agreed that 1) PTI struggle will be democratic 2) Struggle will remain within realm of constitution 3) struggle will be non violent 4) if any extra constitutional force comes into play, we will resist it and condemn it."
Qureshi adds, "Listen to our story even if only to reject it later."
Shireen Mazari catches 40 winks during Qureshi's speech
All dharna-ed out, PTI's Shireen Mazari sleeps off the exhaustion built up from days of camping out in the capital
We came on the signal of the people, says Qureshi
"We cannot allow the political class to be chucked into the bin," says Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
"Why are we here today? We are here to discuss the prevailing political situation in the country?"
"Achakzai you say the dharna is instigated, some have said that; I say yes we did this on a signal but all these signals came from the people of Pakistan...there was an impression that was it too late to stand up against the rigging?
"We talked about this, we thought was it too late to struggle?But the time had come and we saw that we needed to go ahead."
"We talked about this, we thought was it too late to struggle?But the time had come and we saw that we needed to go ahead."
We did the same when we all decided that Pakistan will have an independent judiciary...even my PML-N colleagues were with us."
Members of Parliament listen intently to Qureshi's speech
Qureshi looks back at PTI's journey
"Can we think about how we got here? Do we not remember the sit-in in Lahore's Defence after the May 2013 general elections? Do we not remember what happened in NA-250?," he asks.
"Imran believes that the vote has been rigged, polluted by a number of elements...much has been said about hints...I want to say on record Mr Speaker we vehemently oppose the invoking of Article 245...people talk about the invitation to a third party, to mediate, to facilitate...I am not for mediation and facilitation, but I am here for the resolution."
PTI not part of a grand plan: Qureshi
"It is this establishment...if you look at the Asghar Khan case, many will be exposed...we know our history...I am here today because I heard you yesterday...I feel your pain Bizenjo sahab, you speaking of your father's services to this country...I can respond to people's allegations too but my goal is not to hurt people," he says.
Dismissing the notion of any "gran plan" or third party orchestrating the current crisis, he says, "There is an impression in the House here that there is a grand plan, a script...Mr Speaker, on the floor of the House, let me state that PTI never was and never will be part of any grand plan to undermine the Constitution and democracy."
We want to save Parliament: Qureshi
"I was trying to calm people down but no one listened to me. I pleaded that the Parliament is my political kaaba...but I cannot command, I can only request," says Qureshi.
"We are not here to burn down the House but to save it. Imran Khan is my Quaid, my leader...but in my training is also the hand of Benazir Bhutto."
"The question is what kind of Parliament...it's our responsibility to defend the Parliament...but what kind of Parliament?...it is true that elections held in Pakistan have been seen with questioning gazes..."
PTI's Shah Mehmood Qureshi speaks in NA
Screengrab of Qureshi as he speaks in Parliament
PTI Senior Vice-President Shah Mehmood Qureshi is on the floor of the House.
"That which is said in a rally is one thing but that which is said on the floor of the House is something else," he said. Asad Umair is also seen seated in Parliament.
"The country is standing at a crossroads...we can either weaken the country or strengthen it. I know there are people who want to add fuel to the fire but there are others who want to resolve the country's issues."
"I believe that I hold the House as dear as everyone here does."
Qadri ready for sacrifice
Talking to supporters after the joint session of Parliament, PAT Chief Dr Tahirul Qadri says, "If my enemy kills me...every drop of my blood will cry haq (truth)."
"I am ready to sacrifice myself for my brothers and sisters," he says.
He says his party does not have feudals or rich people as supporters. "We are the poor and middle class."
"I came to take revenge for the killing of our martyrs. I have come in support of Pakistan's poor. I will sit here for an entire year waiting for their [Sharif brothers] resignations if I have to."
"These h******** have robbed ordinary Pakistanis.
Qadri's diatribe covers many of the same points he has raised since August 14.
Claiming he is only eating once every 30 hours, Qadri says, that he eats some cereal only in order to consume his medicines.
Qadri tells supporters to leave if they must, but he has no plans to leave.
"Those who have jobs...those who have to run their homes...those who have troubles...those people are free to leave."
Good news soon, Rehman Malik promises again
PPP's Rehman Malik addresses the press:
"The country will soon hear good news."
"Jirgas have power of principles and ethics, using that power of ethics we went to the PTI and PAT...We don't have ministerial powers, we as a group of opposition parties, went and played an independent role as an arbitrator."
"All the talks that are going on are in the PM's knowledge and the minister who briefed us. Today, hopefully we will meet PTI and PAT members again."
"We want things to improve because Islamabad is in tatters and the protesters are all over the place."
"I don't want to discuss the workings of the jirga further because it is a joint discussion with PTI and PAT. We will discuss and brief you on this together. I cannot help but appreciate the efforts of Sirajul Haq who has been working day and night. I also directly address Altaf Hussain not to resign from the leadership of his party. Please withdraw your decision Altaf Hussain."
Imran, first try becoming opposition leader, then PM'
Sherpao tears into the PTI:
"What democracy is this, that PTI is not resigning from the K-P Assembly? Is it because they lead the government there?"
"Imran, first try to make it to the position of opposition leader and then begin to dream of becoming prime minister...if you have any real proof of rigging, then produce it. Making thunderous claims about rigging and not producing any evidence is not helpful."
"It is atrocious that SSP Islamabad was beaten up...why are you attacking policemen and ridiculing those who are only doing their duty? If you want revenge, come to us, not to poor policemen."
"PTI has even attacked lawyers and journalists, saying they have been bought...implying that anyone who speaks against PTI has been bought, or has no morals."
"PTI MNAs should only be allowed to speak after they take their words back which called this House a bogus assembly...after they condemn the attack on PTV, after they promise to ensure that the Pakistan Secretariat will be evacuated by their crowd...you have their resignations Honourable speaker, you should take them forward."
"It looks like the heat of the discussions here is getting to them...but their culture is not changing."
No PM resignation this way: Sherpao
Sherpao continues his point by point take-down of the PTI, PAT.
"If you want the prime minister's resignation, forget about it...you won't get it and no prime minister will tender his resignation in this manner."
"These people say they are democrats - do we not know that money changed hands by PTI in the elections? Javed Hashmi first gets kicked out from the party and after that gets a show-cause notice? Three PTI members are kicked out from party for not resigning from NA."
Condemnations for PTI, PAT aplenty
Sherpao on the floor
"I condemn those who blocked the ways of the judges who wanted to get to SC building...I condemn those who were drying their laundry on the plaques outside the SC building...I condemn those who call Parliament bogus...I condemn those who say they do not trust the prime minister because even if the judicial commission began working, the government will influence it...this is no confidence on SC judges...what impression are these parties trying to give?"
"These buildings are important because they reflect the spirit of the state...we should unite and say that those who are sitting outside are not adopting the democratic way...we cannot adopt these measures...people in parliament have been bestowed the honour by the people of Pakistan."
'Scriptwriter for this drama is from Purana Pakistan of 90s'
"Whoever wrote the script for this drama is from "Purana Pakistan" not "Naya Pakistan"...they thought we are still mentally in the 1990s and that rigging allegations can be used to attain any ends...but the politicians of this country have matured."
"In the 1990s the opposition used to be prepared for the first opportunity to drag the government down and out, but times have changed."
Nawaz is going nowhere, Sherpao says
Nawaz listens to Sherpao speak
"Those who entered the physical premises of Parliament...crossed the railings...shouldn't you do something about this honourable speaker?...It doesn't matter whose people they are because both [Imran/Qadri] stood on the same container last evening."
"I condemn the attack on PTV...what message were they trying to send? To erode state power...to show to people internationally that Parliament and PTV have been attacked and the government of Nawaz Sharif has come to an end."
"But the Parliament exists and Nawaz is seated on his chair...and will continue to for the next four years."
Sherpao slams protesters
Qaumi Watan Party's Aftab Khan Sherpao continues:
"I want to say first, we are not with PML-N, we are in opposition and playing our role as an opposition party...Parliament will save the country from the current crisis."
"We are upset that...our issues of IDPs, of operation have been put on the back burner...no one remembers our problems...it is a pity, if these people who are outside spoke of these issues we would have understood...but these groups didn't even once mention the problems of K-P...CM Khattak and all ministers of KP came here with protocol and are attacking Parliament."
"I am happy that as we held our joint session...the two [PTI/PAT] also held a joint session yesterday...this journey started from London and I have said this before as well...last night Imran and Qadri had some 2,000-3,000 people...after teargas, the evening singsong is no longer happening."
Sherpao speaks, commends PTI for attending
Sherpao on the floor
Qaumi Watan Party's Aftab Khan Sherpao speaks on the floor of the House.
"The PTI lawmakers who came in, I commend them."
"It is a pity that nowadays we are entering Parliament from the strangest of entrances we had never seen before...but it's heartening that the lawmakers are here...here without a 'telephone call from someone'".
'Protest against Nawaz, or Pakistan?'
Senator Hasil Bizenjo continues to speak.
"China wants to invest $34billion in Pakistan and its president is expected to come but he's mulling whether he should come now...if he cancels his visit, I will be forced to wonder whether this sit-in is against Nawaz Sharif or against Pakistan?"
"There can be no politics without political ethics...the first lesson of political ethics is that one should not attack their opponents' on a personal level."
"When someone says I will drag Nawaz by his collar...how is this politics?"
PTI needs to engage in politics: Bizenjo
Senator Hasil Bizenjo continues to speak.
"Those who say 'we do not accept this illegitimate Parliament and long live Pakistan army' in the same breath - that's unacceptable."
"I request my brothers from PTI...please engage in politics...fight the next election and win the House."
"You cannot call for dissolution of Parliament or ask the government to resign because you feel the election is rigged...you cannot collect a crowd and become rigid...this is not how it's done."
"Saying things like digging graves, bring coffins is outrageous...do you want to make this Parliament a graveyard? If that's what you want, we will bury your politics right here in this very House."
He asks if the protesting groups have thought about how Pakistan will suffer in case the country no longer has a democratic government.
"What will become of Pakistan on the international stage?"
'The Constitution is supreme'
Senator Hasil Bizenjo continues to speak.
"No one said what happened at Model Town was acceptable...but we will not allow anyone to make that tragedy an excuse to attack the Parliament."
"Those who say this Constitution won't remain, that we don't need it, are essentially saying that Pakistan cannot exist...Constitution is imperative to a country."
"If you touch the Constitution of India, or UK, the people of that country won't spare anyone that is how protective of their Constitution they are."
'Politics will become difficult for them [PTI/PAT]'
Hasil Bizenjo on the floor
Senator Hasil Bizenjo continues to mock the PTI.
"People say PML-N activists attacked PTI workers in Gujranwala... how did that happen? If PTI has a million people in its march, how did the 500 of PML-N dare to approach PTI crowd?"
"These two groups [PTI/PAT] used all kinds of abuse against the political parties...when these political parties are talking to you and facilitating you...if they will resort to abuse and say what they will, politics will become difficult for them."
"If today, anyone has challenged the Parliament, the Constitution, all political parties are standing together and we won't allow anyone to attack all that we hold sacred."
You call this a long march, Bizenjo asks
Senator Hasil Bizenjo of the National Party speaks on the floor of the House.
"Everyone is saying the country is going through a difficult phase...what has happened? Do we have martial law? There is no danger...it is only our democratic attitude that we let the protesters come and it is they who created a situation...the government is in no difficulty, no danger."
"All political parties urged the government not to stop these people and let them come...a million people were apparently supposed to come to the capital...I have done marches and sit-ins all my life but have never seen any long marches so relaxed...they do breakfasts, lunches, dinners...what sort of a long march is this?"
"Everyone in that crowd is calling it a long march and think they are Mao" Bizenjo says, drawing desk thumps and some protest from the PTI MNAs.
Nawaz and Nisar look on
'Conspiracy against 18th Amendment'
Wrapping up his speech, ANP's Zahid Khan says:
"Those shedding crocodile tears for the deaths of the 14 people in Model Town tragedy...what of the people who died in the May 12 incident in Karachi? Were they not human? Why has no one gone so far for them?"
"I must emphasise that a conspiracy is underway against the 18th Amendment."
Those using the name of the Army...
Awami National Party's Zahid Khan continues to speak.
"It was heartening for me to hear Javed Hashmi speaking of Bacha Khan's sacrifices for the country...it is us who made sure that Pakistan's flag remained flying in Swat"
"When we used to ask the people of Swat to stand against the Taliban...they said how do we do it...on one point is the army checkpost on another is that of the Taliban..they have tea...how do we stand against the Taliban?"
"Those using the name of army or calling for it to remove the government...army should give them a shut up call."
"We have reached a situation where we want the government to act democratically...but the tradition of ousting an elected government by a crowd of a few thousand must never be allowed."
'We enter Parliament like kittens'
ANP leader Zahid Khan speaks as Shah Mehmood Qureshi listens in front
Awami National Party's Zahid Khan continues to speak.
“My friends from PTI are coming to the House today...I tried to convince them that they need to come to the House and air their grievances.”
“The House today is standing with the prime minister...but please do not let it come to the point that we have to stand against you...although we are with democracy, it's you who is benefiting honourable PM...we want you to respect the parliamentarians.”
“I respect Javed Hashmi for his stand and for his resignation.”
“If you had called the joint session earlier, that would have been better…well, better late than never.”
"We enter the Parliament like kittens...from one gate on one day, from another gate or another day."
"All the things that Hashmi has said...we need to save the Constitution so that Pakistan remains strong."
"Like Maulana I will reiterate that Sufi Mohammad is in jail for saying he does not believe in the Constitution...my brother from MQM said he would have been charged for treason if he had called for civil disobedience...so why is Imran not being held accountable? Because he is from Punjab...with due respect to my brothers from the province."
PTI MNAs enter the House
PTI MNAs inside the house
As expected, PTI MNAs have now entered Parliament.
“Kindly, order in the House please, no comments, this is not D-chowk,” Ayaz Sadiq says as a small ruckus occurs.
Nawaz in Parliament
A quiet, tense-looking Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is seated in the House and the joint session of the Parliament has begun.
Speaker Ayaz Sadiq is in the chair.
Awami National Party's Zahid Khan is on the floor of the House. Khan says all political parties had worked on the passing of the 18th Amendment and those provinces which were upset with the federation had to some extent been satisfied with it. He says a conspiracy is underway against the 18th Amendment.
Khan says it’s been 16-18 days that this "drama" is underway and all broadcasters have been giving air time to the protesters without appearing to care for the internally displaced persons.
"We have 800k IDPs...there are no medicines in the hospitals, please pay heed to their miseries, don't ignore them because they're not from Punjab."
Will only leave after Nawaz resigns: Sheikh Rasheed
Addressing the press, Sheikh Rasheed says the last five overs of the match have started. He says he will leave only after Nawaz Sharif resigns.
Responding to a question as to whether he would be satisfied with the probe of a commission into alleged rigging, Rasheed says:
"Everyone knows what happened to the Hamoodur Rehman commission, the Memo Commission, the Abbottabad commission and all others, so this so-called commission will also have no meaning."
'Strength comes from Parliament'
Nawaz did not come to Parliament and thought it was not important, former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani says, adding that the prime minister must have now realised his real strength comes from the Assembly and nowhere else.
Aitzaz Ahsan must get credit for waking Nawaz up to this realisation, Gilani argues.
What the government really wants to do is a crackdown on the crowd outside, Gilani says.
"The government's fundamental responsibility is its own whether or not it wants to do a crackdown and Parliament should not be used for this purpose...It is the state's duty to protect the lives and properties of the people of Pakistan.”
"I believe the government is trying to get a resolution passed by both Houses to acquire legitimacy for a crackdown on the protesters but the Parliament’s agenda is to protect the Constitution and rule of law," he adds.
Security forces clear Parliament House parking area of protesters
The parking area of the Parliament House has been cleared of protesters by security forces, after which members of National Assembly started parking their vehicles in the area.
Security forces did not face any opposition while clearing the area.
MNAs have started to arrive at Parliament House to attend the joint session of the Parliament which will begin any moment now.
— Reported by Sohail Iqbal Bhatti
Imran leaves container, sets off for undisclosed location
Imran Khan has left his container and started moving towards an unknown location in his black Prado sans any security convoy.
It could not be verified where the PTI chief intended to go; although, some sources said he may have left for his Bani Gala residence. — Reported by Atif Butt
Altaf says time for army chief to play stronger role
MQM chief Altaf Hussain said it is time the army chief should play a more prominent role in order to resolve the current crisis, DawnNews reported.
He said that due to the current political condition the economy was in dire straits, adding that the deadlock will not be resolved through Parliament sessions.
Referring to the army, the MQM chief said it was not only responsible for guarding the borders but also the people living within the borders.
Hussain said to protest in front of PM House was not unconstitutional.
Govt employees unable to reach ministerial offices
The protesters camping at the Pakistan Secretariat building stopped government officials from reaching their offices, DawnNews reported.
A number of employees had to return to their homes.
Schools opened in the federal capital today after prolonged holidays due to the ongoing protests in the city.
Dialogue process to continue until logical conclusion reached: Siraj
Addressing media persons after the meeting between the grand opposition jirga and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)'s negotiating team, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Emir Sirajul Haq said “Entire nation is disturbed due to the ongoing crises. PTI accepted our request with open heart and we are thankful to them."
The head of the grand opposition jirga said that the journey of dialogue process would continue until a logical conclusion was reached.
Senior PPP leader Rehman Malik said “I would like to thank Imran Khan who met us in the middle of the crowd. We condemn the use of violence against their party activists.”
He said “I would request the government not to view the agreement of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and PTI to engage in dialogue as their weakness," and also appealed to the government to stop the act of detaining PAT an PTI activists across the country."
Dialogue process to resume: Qureshi
Vice-president of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Shah Mehmmod Qureshi told media persons that his party had presented its view point during a meeting of the PTI’s negotiating committee with the negotiating team headed by Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Emir Sirajul Haq held at PTI leader Jahangir Tareen’s residence in Islamabad.
Qureshi said that members of the opposition jirga had expressed their will to initiate dialogue for the sake of democracy, which was agreed to.
He added that a meeting would be held tomorrow at 4pm at Pakistan Peoples Party leader Rehman Malik’s residence during which talks would be resumed from where they had discontinued.
Imran summons all PTI activists to Islamabad
“It is a battle of nerves now, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered the unleashing of brutality on our activists under fear and has lost the match,” Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan said early on Wednesday, while addressing his supporters outside Parliament House in Islamabad and appealing to other party activists from all over the country to gather at the sit-in venue.
“An anti-terrorism case has been registered against me and I have also been charged for treason,“ he said adding that “I will not back off from my stance and remain here only. I will wait for the prime minister to make mistakes and lose his seat.”
Khan also said that the 'status quo' has aligned itself with Nawaz Sharif in the name of democracy to 'save their looted wealth and their misdeeds' and appealed to all party activists from across the country to reach Islamabad to join the anti-government protests.
The PTI chairman said that he would personally monitor the attendance of those activists seeking party tickets for the next elections.
Talks between opposition jirga, PTI begin at Tareen’s residence
After holding separate meeting with Imran Khan and Dr Tahirul Qadri, the grand opposition jirga – a negotiating team headed by JI Emir Sirajul Haq – has reached at the residence of PTI leader Jahangir Tareen in Islamabad.
PTI’s committee also includes Asad Umar, Chief Minister KP Pervez Khattak, Shafqat Mehmmod, Arfi Alvi and Shah Mehmmod Qureshi.
Opposition leaders would soon meet with PTI, PAT teams: Sirajul Haq
Emir Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Sirajul Haq, who was heading the negotiating committee, said that the ‘jirga’ was not representing the government but the public.
He appreciated the protesters for remaining ‘peaceful’. Haq said until a peaceful solution to the issue is not found, they would not give up facilitating the two sides.
The JI emir said that the PTI and PAT have formed their respective negotiating committee and they will soon meet with them. A first round of talks would be held with the PTI team, headed by Shah Mehmood Qureshi and the media would be apprised about it.
Nation will soon hear 'good news': Rehman Malik
Speaking to the media after meeting with Imran Khan and Dr Tahirul Qadri, PPP Senator Rehman Malik said that they met with the two protesting leaders to diffuse prevailing political tension. He expressed optimism that the nation would soon hear the good news. He lauded PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s role in breaking the stalemate.
He said that ice has melted and the two sides would engage in a decisive phase of talks soon.
Emir Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Sirajul Haq, who was heading the negotiating committee, said that the ‘jirga’ was not representing the government but the public.
Imran speaks again, assails Achakzai for supporting ‘rigging’
Speaking to his and Dr Tahirul Qadri’s supporters outside the Parliament in Islamabad, PTI Chairman Imran Khan has again lashed out at the PML-N government.
He criticized Mehmood Khan Achakzai for favouring what he called dhandli (rigging) and not democracy. “He has achieved so much due to this dahndli,” he said.
“When Interior Minister Chaudhr Nisar Ali Khan has accepted on the floor of the parliament that up to 60 to 70,000 votes are unverifiable … then how can these elections be called credible?”
Qadri says Army not behind them
Dr Tahirul Qadri said: “Anyone who says, Army is behind us is wrong … there is no truth in that. We can oath on it, we only had one meeting with Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif and Before that, we didn't even have a chat with anyone from the army.”
“To malign our peaceful, democratic revolution, they bring forth such allegations … Calling our peaceful green revolution as chaotic, I ask PPP members, have you forgotten your past?”
Hashmi makes resignation official
"Honourable speaker, as for resignations, I resign from my seat...I am going back to the people of Pakistan," Hashmi says to NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, who had earlier said that he had not accepted the resignations of PTI lawmakers as he had not been present when they were submitted.
"People did not resign of their own will but I am resigning now," Hashmi says, as he concludes his speech.
Nawaz Sharif walks over to Javed Hashmi; the two shake hands.
The session of the House is adjourned till Wednesday; session to begin tomorrow at 11 am.
We stand with Nawaz, says opposition
"Honourable PM, I want to assure you on behalf of opposition parties...we are standing by you," says Aitzaz, his speech drawing to a close.
"Honourable PM, we stand by you but we are standing by you for democracy and not because we want to. Our support to govt is unconditional but once this is over, we won't turn a blind eye to your failures."
After Chaudhry Nisar, Senator Aitzaz Ahsan stands to speak in the National Assembly.
"Without any doubt, I want to say first that there are many challenges in our way. But the opposition parties are standing with democracy and constitution," he says.
"This is not a favour we are doing to the prime minister and his cabinet. But it is very difficult for us. When I see SMS in the evening, I get thousands of messages from PPP workers asking why we are trying to save the government of Mian sb."
This is a mutiny, not a protest: Nisar
Nisar addressed the NA speaker and said, “This Parliament should remove the misconception that this is a democratic process. This is not a protest, not a dharna or a political gathering. This is mutiny against Pakistan.”
“If this declaration comes from the Parliamentary, the nation will know the reality of this protest.”
"They reached the gates of the Supreme Court, of Parliament... yesterday they entered another state building and chanted slogans of 'Tahir-ul-Qadri Zindabad'," he said, referring to the storming of the PTV Islamabad office.
"Those were not Muslim League Noon cameras that they broke," he said, adding that eight PTV cameras were stolen, each of which cost Rs700,000.
"The way they behaved with a female employee there... they stole her purse... I do not want to go into details."
Joint session of Parliament opens
The joint session of the Parliament has now begun. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was seen walking into the National Assembly amidst party representatives and reporters.
He is expected to address the Assembly shortly.
SC issues notices to all parliamentary parties, including PAT
Hearing a set of petitions against sit-ins by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) on the Constitution Avenue, the Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notices to all parliamentary parties as well as the PAT.
The notices were issued after the petitioner pleaded to the court that all parliamentary parties be summoned so the deadlock can be resolved.
Notices have been issued to PPP, PML-N, MQM, ANP, PML-Q, PML-Z, BNP, AML, APML. QWP, PkMap, NP and other parties.