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Operation against religious parties' sit-in at Faizabad postponed for 24 hours

19 November 2017

The IHC on Friday took notice of the non-implementation of its earlier orders that directed the protest at Faizabad Interchange to be dislodged.

The Islamabad administration told the protesters on Friday to end their sit-in by 10am on Saturday otherwise a joint operation by Rangers, Frontier Constabulary and police would be carried out to disperse them. Television footage had shown the security personnel dressed in riot gear. The district administration was not included in the talks between the government and the participants.

The protestors are calling for the sacking of Law Minister Zahid Hamid and strict action against those behind the amendment to the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat oath in the Elections Act 2017 ─ which had earlier been deemed a "clerical error" by the government and subsequently rectified by the Parliament. Sections 7B and 7C of the Conduct of General Elections Order, 2002 were also restored to their original form via the bill.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government has repeatedly criticised political rival PTI for staging an anti-government demonstration at a time when Chinese President Xi Jinping was expected to visit Islamabad to finalise the $55 billion CPEC-linked projects in 2014.

The protesters have blocked routes leading to the sit-in.

The TLY had occupied the Faizabad Bridge which connects Rawalpindi and Islamabad through the Islamabad Expressway and Murree Road, both of which are the busiest roads in the twin cities.

Iqbal urged the religious leaders to end their sit-in for the sake of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) so that the city may be protected from harm.

According to a statement, the Interior Minister directed the Islamabad administration to postpone the operation against protesters for next twenty-four hours.

However, there's no sign of a breakthrough yet as hardline clerics leading the protest have vowed not to end the sit-in until their demand of resignation of Federal Minister for Law Zahid Hamid is met by the government, saying they were ready to embrace "martyrdom" in case the government goes ahead with the operation. Tension at the Faizabad Interchange, which had remained high in the morning, appeared to have quelled a little after Iqbal's orders were issued.

Two religious parties have been camped at the key route linking Islamabad and Rawalpindi for almost two weeks in protest against the government's change, and then reversal, of the finality of Prophethood oath for lawmakers when it passed the Elections Act, 2017 last month.

Similarly, the caretaker of Gulshanabad Sharif Pir Sarkar Jee addressed the protestors at Faizabad Interchange and put his weight behind the demands of protestors. Initial reports in the media can sometimes be inaccurate.

This is a developing story that is being updated as the situation evolves.

Operation against religious parties' sit-in at Faizabad postponed for 24 hours