Imran ends protest in Pak capital after Peshawar attack

Islamabad: Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan today called off his over four-month protest in the capital against alleged rigging in last year’s polls saying he wanted to help the government focus on the fight against terror a day after the Peshawar attack that killed 148 people.

Khan had launched the protest in Lahore on August 14 and brought thousands of his supporters to sit-in in front of the parliament in Islamabad to force the government to hold an impartial probe in allegations of fraud in the election which his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) lost. He had also demanded the ouster of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Khan finally decided to end the protest after the horrific school attack that left 132 schoolchildren dead.

“Due to the situation in the country right now, we have decided to end our protest (sit-in) after 126 days but I hope that the government will organise impartial probe into the rigging,” he said.

He warned that failure on the part of the government to address his rigging complaint will force him to again come on the streets. He also condemned the attack.

“I have never seen an atrocity like this in my entire life. I cannot even comprehend how someone could kill children like this,” he said.

“If someone killed my children like this, I would seek to avenge it as well,” he said.

Sharif welcomed the announcement and promised to set up a commission to address Khan’s allegations.

The thaw in the political tension came today as Khan attended a meeting of political leaders organised by Sharif in Peshawar.

The two leaders met for the first time since the launch of the protests and shook hands. They were later seated together when Sharif addressed the media at the end of the meeting where he said he was ready to host Khan for a meeting or ready to visit him to sort out differences.