Pakistani leader reaches out to opposition

March 13, 2009 at 11:43 PM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, March 13 (UPI) -- Pakistani President Asif Zardari is seeking talks with opposition groups following two days of demonstrations, officials said.

The president's offer to meet with opposition groups followed a security crackdown that led to thousands of arrests, Voice of America reported Friday. The offer for negotiations follows several meetings with Pakistani political and military leaders as well as consultations with American diplomats.

The U.S. State Department has said it wants the protests addressed lawfully, without violence or any impediments to democratic activities.

Opposition leader, former Prime Minister Omar Sharif, has been critical in media appearances of the president's crackdowns, the network reported.

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