Ahsan hints at crackdown at any time

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Faizabad sit-in enters 12th day as deadlock persists

Says Islamabad protesters lack justification
Staff Reporter

Islamabad

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has said on Sunday that the government can never compromise over the matter of Khatam-e-Nabuwwat.
Speaking at a press conference, the minister urged that the government wants a peaceful solution of Faizabad sit-in.
Ahsan Iqbal reiterated that the protesters have no justification to remain camped out at Faizabad Interchange after restoration of 7B and 7C sections of Elections Amendment Bill 2017 pertaining to finality of Prophethood (Khatm-e-Nabuwwat)
The Interior Minister made an appeal to the protesters to call off sit-in peacefully since a negative impression has been emerging from the protest over the finality of Prophethood across the world. “The entire nation, as Muslims, believes in Khatm-e-Nabuwwat and the government will make no compromise on the matter, Iqbal clarified.
He however; maintained that they are now running out of patience as the protesters are not willing to call off their sit-in on any condition. He said operation against the protesters will be the last option but can be initiated any time in the future.
He told that information exist that some evil persons are present in the sit-in with the intention of worsening the situation but the government does not want them to be successful. “The protesters want the resignation of the law minister but he cannot be asked to resign as no solid evidence is present against him,” he reiterated.
He said its the masses suffering from the sit-in as traffic movement has been suspended in the twin-cities. The government delegation led by senior PML-N leader Raja Zafar-ul-Haq held marathon negotiations to break a deadlock but protesters are still maintaining their demand of Zahid Hamid’s resignation, he said.
“If the government send the law minister packing, it would eventually set a wrong precedent,” he underlined, adding, there was no proof that he was responsible for the mistake (amendment).
On the occasion, Iqbal called upon the countrywide clerics to convince the protesters to call off their sit-in peacefully.
Activists of religious groups continue to stage sit-in at Faizabad on 12th day as a deadlock in the negotiations with the government continues to persist.
Heavy contingent of Rangers, Frontier Corps and police are deployed in the area whereas armored vehicles, prison vans and ambulances are also present.
Administration of the twin cities has delayed decision to use force against protesters belonging to Sunni Tehreek and Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah after fourth round of talks ended at residence of Raja Zafarul Haq last night.
Protesting bodies represented by Dr Shafiq Ameeni, Sheikh Azhar and Pir Ijaz Sherani convened the fourth round of talks at Raja Zafarul Haq’s residence with the government and returned to the protesting site.
Interior minister Ahsan Iqbal and Islamabad Mayor Sheikh Ansar among others represented the delegation of the government while a cleric from Golara Sharif Ghulamulddin Jami mediated the talks.
The locals of the twin cities are under a miserable scenario as the sit-in has shut down Faizabad interchange from all the sides, forcing locals to reach their destination through long routes and in entended hours instead of minutes. Disrupted traffic flow and vehicles jamming on the alternative routes have also become a routine.
The government has also cancelled the holidays of staff at the hospitals and emergency. At least two people including a child have lost their lives after they were unable to reach hospital timely due to the sit-in.
Moreover, mobile services in I-8 and Faizabad remain suspended creating problems for the people. Till date, police has registered at least 17 cases against the protesters including assault on security personnel.
Seemingly, the negotiations failed after the extended deadline to end the sit-in protest has expired. Meanwhile, the ultimatum granted by Islamabad High Court (IHC) has also concluded.
The protesting bodies have vowed to continue the sit-in protest until law minister Zahid Hamid tenders his resignation for a ‘clerical mistake’ in amendment that was brought to Elections Act 2017.
In the then revised form-A of nomination papers, the words “I solemnly swear” were replaced with “I believe” and the clause relating to Khatm-i-Naboowat was made applicable to non-Muslim candidates.
However, the change was branded a clerical mistake by National Assembly speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and the government had vowed immediate rectification of the alleged mistake.
The Senate, earlier this week, approved reversal of the changes made earlier.
Nonetheless, the protesters who camped in the outskirts of Islamabad and at Faizabad M2 interchange late October are adamant for the law minister to resign.

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