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Aug 29, 5:27 AM EDT

Pakistani PM denies asking army to mediate

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ISLAMABAD (AP) -- Pakistan's prime minister has denied asking the country's military chief to mediate with opposition leaders and protesters who have camped outside parliament in Islamabad for two weeks, demanding his resignation over alleged voting fraud.

Nawaz Sharif's remarks to the National Assembly on Friday indicate that the negotiations - with or without army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif's mediation - were unlikely to produce a breakthrough in the crisis.

They also threw into question reports that said the government had requested the powerful military's mediation.

The premier spoke a day after the army chief met with cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and fiery cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, who are leading the protests.

Earlier, Khan and Qadri had said they agreed to army chief's role as "mediator and guarantor" in further talks with government.

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