Pakistani daily calls for national consensus

Islamabad, Jan 16 (IANS) Amid the escalating political crisis, a Pakistani daily Wednesday called for "a genuine national consensus".

"A genuine national consensus is the need of the hour," The News said in an editorial, as tens of thousands massed in Islamabad demanding democracy and a court ordered the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf.

"There is still time for the political forces to pick up the pieces, put themselves together and take solid action," it said.

"More chaos will follow if that does not happen, and if critical decisions of national importance are not taken. Let those in power assess their own performance first and then blame others."

The editorial quoted the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan as saying: "It is difficult to measure the misfortune of the luckless people of Pakistan that their state is coming apart at the seams."

The statement came after the Supreme Court ordered the arrest of the prime minister and others in a power case Tuesday.

The News said the court ruling coincided with a massive street show just a few hundred yards away where cleric Tahirul Qadri's "long march" had pitched itself in front of parliament.

"Such an unusual course of events is virtually unprecedented even in our troubled history," it said.

The daily said that amid chaos, there "will be the usual chorus that there are conspiracies afoot against democracy". But it pointed out that these developments had not taken place in a vacuum.

"It was obviously frustration with the existing set-up that made so many people support Qadri."

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