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Pakistani PM Defiant As Protests Continue

Pakistan's embattled prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, said he will not step down despite persistent protests by demonstrators demanding his resignation.

Sharif told parliament on August 27 that his government would not be thrown off course by the demonstrations in the capital, Islamabad, and that Pakistan will survive the crisis.

Tens of thousands of supporters of populist cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan have been holding separate rallies outside parliament since August 15.

The opposition claims the 2013 elections that brought Sharif to power were rigged.

Government negotiators are urging them to end the protests, which have paralyzed parts of Islamabad.

Cabinet minister Saad Rafiq on August 27 said the government would not crack down on protesters, and called on Khan and Qadri to stop demanding Sharif's resignation.

He urged Qadri to withdraw the 48-hour "deadline" he set for Sharif's resignation, which expires late on August 27.

Based on reporting by AFP,, dpa, and AP