Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri, camping here for more than two weeks, met with army chief Gen Raheel Sharif in Rawalpindi overnight after the PML-N government asked him to play his role in ending the political crisis.

Khan wants the PML-N government's ouster over alleged rigging in last year's poll which his party lost, while Qadri wants to bring a revolution in the country.

According to well places sources, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan was also present during these meetings.

"It was agreed that army negotiators will have backdoor interactions with both sides today and prepare ground for an agreement between the two sides," sources said.

The government representatives will also meet the protest leaders and they will approve or sign the agreement mediated by the army.

After meeting Gen Sharif, Khan told his weary protesters that army has become "neutral umpire" in the crisis.

He still demanded resignation of the Prime Minister. "If he resigns we will celebrate it on Friday evening," he said.

Qadri also addressed his listless crowd of followers and said he had presented his revolutionary agenda to the army chief in the meeting.

HIGHLIGHTS
Pakistan Army to help defuse political crisis in country
Imran Khan, Tahir-ul-Qadri demanding Nawaz Sharif’s ouster
Army Chief had asked for 24 hours to solve the crisis
PM agreed to accept every demand except his ouster
Intervention will make Premier Sharif's government more vulnerable and could weaken his authority
Murder case registered against Sharif for alleged role in the killing of Qadri's supporters
Imran Khan, Tahir-ul-Qadri snapped communications with the official negotiators

Sources said that the deal brokered by army will address Khan's concerns about rigging and Qadri's basic demand of inclusion of clauses of anti-terror laws in the case already registered against Prime Minister Sharif, his brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and others in Lahore.

Sharif is expected to survive in the political battle but he will become weak and unable to challenge army's grip on foreign and security policy of the country.

The army, which has so far been passive in the confrontation between the government and protesters, has a history of capturing power from democratically elected governments.

Sharif himself was removed from office during a previous stint as prime minister in a military coup by the then army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf in 1999.

When politician differed in 1977 over the outcome of polls, then army chief Gen Zia-ul Haq imposed martial law.

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