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Pakistan holds talks with opposition as protesters besiege parliament to pressure PM to quit

  • A supporter of Pakistan's cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan climbs on a pole and listens to his leader's speech during a protest in Islamabad's high-security "Red Zone," in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Pakistan’s powerful army chief Gen. Rasheel Sharif asked the government to hold negotiations with protesters to settle a mass demonstration outside parliament, officials said. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

    A supporter of Pakistan's cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan climbs on a pole and listens to his leader's speech during a protest in Islamabad's high-security "Red Zone," in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Pakistan’s powerful army chief Gen. Rasheel Sharif asked the government to hold negotiations with protesters to settle a mass demonstration outside parliament, officials said. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)  (The Associated Press)

  • Female supporters of Pakistan's cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan shout slogans during a protest in Islamabad's high-security "Red Zone," in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Pakistan’s powerful army chief Gen. Rasheel Sharif asked the government to hold negotiations with protesters to settle a mass demonstration outside parliament, officials said. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

    Female supporters of Pakistan's cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan shout slogans during a protest in Islamabad's high-security "Red Zone," in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Pakistan’s powerful army chief Gen. Rasheel Sharif asked the government to hold negotiations with protesters to settle a mass demonstration outside parliament, officials said. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)  (The Associated Press)

  • Police forces deploy outside the secretariat block in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Tens of thousands of protesters entered Islamabad's high-security "Red Zone" the night before, five days after arriving in the capital. Pakistan’s powerful army chief Gen. Rasheel Sharif asked the government to hold negotiations with protesters to settle a mass demonstration outside parliament, officials said. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

    Police forces deploy outside the secretariat block in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Tens of thousands of protesters entered Islamabad's high-security "Red Zone" the night before, five days after arriving in the capital. Pakistan’s powerful army chief Gen. Rasheel Sharif asked the government to hold negotiations with protesters to settle a mass demonstration outside parliament, officials said. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)  (The Associated Press)

Pakistani officials have held first, "initial" talks with two opposition groups whose supporters have been besieging the parliament for a second day demanding the prime minister resign over alleged election fraud.

Cabinet minister Ahsan Iqbal says the two sides are trying to find a "win-win solution."

Thursday's talks came after Pakistan's powerful army chief, Gen. Rasheel Sharif, requested that Nawaz Sharif's government negotiate with thousands of protesters who have surrounded the parliament.

The twin protests by opposition politician Imran Khan and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri have virtually shut down Pakistan's capital and raised fears of unrest.

The rallies started last week in the eastern city of Lahore and later moved to Islamabad. The protesters torn down barricades late Tuesday and entered the so-called "Red Zone" housing key government buildings and diplomatic posts.