Tahir ul-Qadri, Sufi cleric and opposition leader of political party Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), addresses supporters in Islamabad September 3, 2014.
Akhtar Soomro—Reuters
By Rishi Iyengar
September 4, 2014

Protesters gathered in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad have been at it for three weeks now, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over suspicions of a rigged election. But Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri also asked for something else on Wednesday — playground equipment, books and toys for the evidently bored children who have accompanied their parents to the sit-in.

The prominent cleric — one of the two main leaders of the anti-Sharif movement — additionally asked supporters and residents of Islamabad to donate biscuits, chocolate, milk and cough syrup, according to local news outlet Dawn. And this being cricket-mad Pakistan, he also requested cricket bats and balls. “I will play with you myself,” he reportedly promised the younger demonstrators.

Qadri and cricketer turned politician Imran Khan, accompanied by tens of thousands of supporters, marched into Islamabad three weeks ago demanding fresh elections. After a spike in violence last weekend, the protests seem to have lost momentum, with the army refusing to intervene and Parliament expressing support for the embattled Prime Minister.

The Guardian reported that Khan sent his MPs back into Parliament on Wednesday, after saying last week that he would ask them all to resign. Signs seem to increasingly point to an imminent resolution of the conflict.

Write to Rishi Iyengar at rishi.iyengar@timeasia.com.

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