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Imran Khan refuses to resign amid mass protests

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan addressig at the UN Genral Assmeby in New York. Photograph:( AFP )

ANI Islamabad, Pakistan Nov 05, 2019, 06.30 PM (IST)

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that he was ready to accept all "valid" demands of the Azadi March protesters, led by firebrand cleric Maulana Fazlur Rehman, except their call for his resignation.

According to the local media, the Pakistan premier made the statement in a meeting led by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak to negotiate with the opposition parties taking part in the 'Azadi March', reported the Express Tribune.

"The government is ready to accept all valid demands except the demand for resignation," said Khan.

Khan also stated that his negotiation team will respond positively if the opposition displays seriousness towards reaching a consensus to end the protest march.

This comes a day after Cleric cum politician Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief said, "We have a Plan B, a Plan C. This is only Plan A. Your jails will fall short of space. We will shut down the entire country as well and continue our war."

"We have decided not to go to any court or election commission," he said. "Only a parliamentary committee will decide about rigging," he added.

The purported aim of the march is to oust Khan, who has been at the helm for just over a year.

According to Fazlur Rehman aka Maulana Diesel, the march has been called to "protect the Constitution, democracy and Pakistan".

Earlier, Khan made it clear that he will not succumb to pressure from the opposition and not resign from his post.

The anti-government protest is likely to be one of the biggest in the country, surpassing the numbers of the 2014 'dharna' held against the then Pakistani government led by Nawaz Sharif.

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Khan also stated that his negotiation team will respond positively if the opposition displays seriousness towards reaching a consensus to end the protest march.