Pakistan

Pakistani Cleric Calls for New Government

Tells president and parliament to step down, gives deadline

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A populist Pakistani cleric told tens of thousands of supporters gathered in the capital for an anti-corruption rally early on Tuesday morning that they could force the government to quit within hours.

Supporters of Sufi cleric Muhammad Tahirul Qadri heeded his call to move towards parliament and removed the barriers put in place to contain them until they reached the square in front of the building.

"The march is over and the revolution has started," said Qadri, who shot to fame since returning from Canada a few weeks ago, demanding an interim government.

"I give the president and prime minister until this morning to dissolve parliament and quit power," he told the crowd, who showered his bulletproof vehicle with rose petals as he arrived in the early hours of Tuesday.