Pakistan cleric calls off protest after govt concessions

January 18, 2013 - 3:31:11 am

Pakistani cleric Muhammad Tahirul Qadri addresses supporters from a secured room during a protest rally in Islamabad, yesterday. 
ISLAMABAD: A Muslim cleric with a history of ties to the military who has been calling for the Pakistani government to resign reached a deal with the administration yesterday that will give him a say in the electoral process ahead of elections.
Muhammad Tahirul Qadri triggered a political crisis by launching mass protests in the capital four days ago calling for electoral reforms to clean up Pakistani politics.
He has been pushing for the military to play a role in the formation of the caretaker administration that takes over in the run-up to scheduled elections.
“We have reached an agreement,” Qadri told supporters camped out near parliament. 
Qadri persuaded the government to dissolve parliament before a scheduled date of March 16 so that elections, due in May, can take place within 90 days.