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Pakistani government agrees to dissolve

Jan. 17, 2013 at 7:50 PM

ISLAMABAD, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Pakistan agreed Thursday to dissolve its parliament, in a deal with Muslim cleric Tahir ul Qadri to end a massive anti-government protest, officials said.

Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters gathered in Islamabad Thursday, calling for President Asif Ali Zardari to meet with Qadri over his demands that Pakistan's government be dissolved, CNN reported.

Qadri, a lawmaker under the presidency of former Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has repeatedly called for the government to be dissolved and replaced with an interim administration, with input from the judiciary and military.

Government officials agreed Thursday to dissolve the parliament by March 16, ahead of the elections scheduled for May, the BBC reported.

"We have reached an agreement," Qadri said after the deal was reached. "Allah granted us a victory and now you can go home."

Fasih Bokhari, the head of the Pakistan's anti-corruption National Accountability Bureau, told the Supreme Court Thursday he cannot comply with court orders to arrest Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, The New York Times reported.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry Tuesday ordered the arrest of Ashraf and 15 other government officials as part of a year-old corruption investigation.

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