Pakistan holds talks with opposition as protesters besiege parliament to pressure PM to quit



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ISLAMABAD — Pakistani officials have held first, "initial" talks with two opposition groups whose supporters have been besieging the parliament for a second day demanding the prime minister resign over alleged election fraud.

Cabinet minister Ahsan Iqbal says the two sides are trying to find a "win-win solution."

Thursday's talks came after Pakistan's powerful army chief, Gen. Rasheel Sharif, requested that Nawaz Sharif's government negotiate with thousands of protesters who have surrounded the parliament.

The twin protests by opposition politician Imran Khan and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri have virtually shut down Pakistan's capital and raised fears of unrest.

The rallies started last week in the eastern city of Lahore and later moved to Islamabad. The protesters torn down barricades late Tuesday and entered the so-called "Red Zone" housing key government buildings and diplomatic posts.

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