Nic6365424Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was clinging to power Monday as protesters stepped up their assault on government buildings while the capital was gripped with fear and confusion about whether the country’s powerful military will step in to defuse the tension. As the demonstrations calling for the prime minister’s resignation enter their third week, Sharif is trying to navigate Pakistan’s worst political crisis in more than a decade. With the violence increasing, what started as a routine demonstration has morphed into concerns that the government of a nuclear-armed country could collapse. Former cricket star Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri, a firebrand preacher and scholar, allege that Sharif was elected last year in fraudulent balloting and hasn’t done enough to fix the country’s ailing economy. More