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Imran party MPs to quit Parliament

Islamabad, Aug. 18: In a dramatic development, cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on Monday decided to resign all its seats in the national and provincial legislatures.

The decision coincided with a fresh move by the government to form two cross-party committees to negotiate with Imran Khan and canada-based populist cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, who are holding separate sit-ins in Islamabad since Saturday to press for resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and fresh elections in the country under an interim national government.

“We have decided to resign from the National Assembly and provincial assemblies of Baluchistan, Sindh and Punjab,” vice-chairman of PTI Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters in Islamabad after a meeting of the party's core committee.

However, he said decision is pending about resigning from northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly because the party, which has its government there, is consulting with its coalition partners.

This was the second surprise sprung by PTI in just two days. On Sunday, Imran Khan had announced to launch a civil disobedience campaign against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government while addressing participants of the a long march he is leading.

Majority of political leaders belonging to different political parties were taken aback on the announcement because the civil disobedience falls within the jurisdiction of treason. Interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told a press conference on Sunday that he was surprised by the move because civil disobedience is always launched against the state and not the government.

On Saturday, Qadri demanded arrest of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for alleged murder of over a dozen workers of his Pakistan Awami Tehreek workers in a clash with police on June 17 in Lahore. He also demanded Sharif's resignation and formation of an interim national government.