Pakistan's army chief wants negotiated settlement for anti-government protests


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Tens of thousands of protesters armed with wire cutters and backed by cranes broke through barriers protecting Pakistan's parliament and other government buildings Tuesday night, demanding the country's prime minister resign. (Aug. 20)

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ISLAMABAD — Officials in Pakistan say the country's powerful army chief has asked the government to hold negotiations with protesters to settle a mass demonstration outside parliament.

They say Gen. Rasheel Sharif made the request during a meeting Wednesday with Shahbaz Sharif, the younger brother of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The protesters have demanded the premier step down over allegations of fraud in last year's election.

The two security officials and a government official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to journalists.

Tensions have been running high in Islamabad, where two anti-government protests have converged with thousands of people now outside of parliament.

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