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

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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.

PHOTO: Thousands of supporters of Pakistani religious cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri take part in a massive rally in front of The Parliament building in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. 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 Nawaz Sharif resign. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
Thousands of supporters of Pakistani religious cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri take part in a massive rally in front of The Parliament building in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. 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 Nawaz Sharif resign. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

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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Video:
PHOTO: 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)
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)
Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Supporters of Pakistan's cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan listen their leaders speech prior to march toward parliament in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. 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 Nawaz Sharif resign. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
Click to view (20 Photos)

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