Supreme Court takes notice of Faizabad Sit-in

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday took notice of the Faizabad sit-in which has paralysed twin cities for over almost two weeks, and demanded replies from the relevant government officials.

The court took notice of this during the hearing of a separate case, when a lawyer informed Justice Mushir Alam, of the hurdles he faced during the preparation of the case as the capital came on a standstill due to the sit-in.

SC sent summons to Inspector General Punjab, Inspector General Islamabad and Attorney General of Pakistan on Thursday, November 23. The court also sent notices to the secretaries of the interior and defence ministries, inspectors general of Punjab and Islamabad and the attorney general.

Justice Isa also directed a detailed report on the measures undertaken by the government to protect the rights of the public. The hearing has been adjourned until Thursday.

As the sit-in of the Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) at Faizabad Interchange continues on Tuesday, talks between the government and protest leaders over the demand for resignation of Federal Minister for Law Zahid Hamid are deadlocked, with Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal seeking extension in the deadline from the Islamabad High Court for evicting the protesters.

Daily life in the capital has been paralysed for over two weeks now due to the protest of an alliance of religious parties, including the Tehreek-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwwat, Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY) and Sunni Tehreek Pakistan (ST), calling for the sacking of Law Minister Zahid Hamid and strict action against those behind the amendment to the Khatam-e-Nabuwwat clause ─ which had earlier been deemed a “clerical error” and subsequently rectified.

The religious parties have been protesting against the change in the finality of Prophethood oath in the law when the government passed the Elections Act 2017 last month. The change, dubbed a clerical error by the government, was immediately fixed as an amendment was passed later.

The protesters have been occupying the Faizabad Interchange which connects Rawalpindi and Islamabad through the Islamabad Expressway and Murree Road – the busiest roads in the twin cities.

The protest by religious parties that has brought the capital to a standstill entered its 16th day on Tuesday after various rounds of talks between the government and protesters ended in a stalemate.

Talks held on Saturday and then on Monday failed with no breakthrough in sight as protest leaders continue to demand the resignation of Federal Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid.

The government, however, has formed another committee under senior cleric Pir Hussainuddin for negotiations with the protesters and to suggest a comprehensive solution to the problem.

Following a meeting of government representatives and protest leaders on Monday, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal again expressed hope for a peaceful resolution of the issue.

“We all agree that this issue should be resolved as soon as possible in a peaceful manner. Pakistan cannot be affected by any kind of bloodletting,’ said the interior minister.

Read More : Islamabad: Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY) Dharna update

The meeting, after its conclusion also issued a joint statement, which stated that there is absolutely no room for error in the Khatam-e-Nabuwat clause and a committee, formed with PML-N leader Raja Zafar-ul-Haq in the chair, will identify those responsible for the mistake and the change in the oath.

Iqbal further said that the committee formed under Haq will expedite the report and present it once completed

He added that Khatam-e-Nabuwat is the basis of Islam and the wish of the government is to resolve the issue “in hours, not days’.

“For the sake of the Ummah, the religion, and the country, we have to peacefully resolve the sit-in.”

On Sunday, the interior minister had said that all options are available for dispersing the Islamabad protest, adding that a security operation is the last option as the government will try to avoid bloodshed.

The Islamabad High Court had given the government until 10am, November 18 to remove the protesters blocking the Faizabad Interchange ‘with force if need be’ but the government did not do so and instead opted for negotiations to find a peaceful way out.

The religious parties have been protesting against the change in the finality of Prophethood oath in the law when the government passed the Elections Act 2017 last month. The change, dubbed a clerical error by the government, was immediately fixed as an amendment was passed later.

They also want responsibility fixed on other officials involved in the incident.

The protest has disrupted life in the capital and Rawalpindi, causing inconvenience as well as at least two reported casualties due to ambulances being unable to cross the protesters.

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