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Cleric Gets Concessions from Pakistani Government as Protest Ends

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ISLAMABAD) -- A moderate Muslim cleric has called off a mass demonstration in Pakistan's capital of Islamabad after apparently getting concessions he demanded from the government.

The four-day sit-down involving thousands of Tahir ul Qadri's supporters ended on Thursday when the government agreed to dissolve the National Assembly and call for new elections.

The decision made by a delegation from Pakistan's governing coalition came after hours of tense negotiations.

Following the agreement, Qadri told his cheering supporters, "You are victorious, and your sacrifices were worth it in the end."

None of those who took part in the "Islamabad Long March Declaration" will be prosecuted, the cleric added.

Qadri returned to Pakistan last month from his self-imposed exile to lead a movement against widespread corruption in his native land.

As it happened, the country's Supreme Court called for the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and others on alleged corruption charges.

While a hero to many, some maintain that Qadri is in the pocket of Pakistan's still powerful military, an accusation he has denied.  Years ago, he served as a lawmaker when President Pervez Musharraf, the head of the military, was still in power.

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