ISLAMABAD: The first round of talks, held at PML-N leader Raja Zafar-ul-Haq’s residence with representatives of the sit-in, ended with a major development..
The government signalled that it was willing to withdraw over a dozen cases registered against the protest leaders, told media.
Government officials proposed to create a committee in regards to Law Minister Zahid Hamid and representatives of the protesters are expected to respond to the offer tonight.
The government’s side was represented by Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Minister of State for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Muhammad Aminul Hasnat Shah and Haq.
Both sides are willing to sign a written agreement after consulting with their respected sides for further review, media report.
The minister said that he wants the protest to end peacefully and without any issue, but added that implementation on the court order to disperse the protesters will be started after 24 hours.
Iqbal had also called upon religious leaders and scholars to play their role in helping end the stalemate.
The custodian of Golra Sharif, Alauddin Nizami, had also met the protestors. Chairman Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, while addressing the media, said the issue of the sit-in should be resolved peacefully. He added that the sit-in does not benefit any person and the protesters should adopt a middle route to end the current stalemate.
Government representatives had held talks throughout Friday night which failed to produce any results, Iqbal said.
As per an order of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued yesterday, protesters staging a sit-in at the interchange had until 10 AM today (Saturday) to vacate the key route.
Iqbal’s order comes after contingents of the police and FC arrived early morning and were gearing up to disperse demonstrators should they fail to meet the court ordered-deadline.
Residents of the capital continue to face immense issues as mobility remains limited. Police sources said that the city administration has asked citizens at Murree Road to move to secure locations and directed shop owners to keep the shops closed.
Residents of I-8 and Faizabad have been asked to remain in their homes while the city administration has declared emergency in hospitals
The administration has also closed all routes towards Islamabad for unnecessary traffic.
The IHC on Friday took notice of the non-implementation of its earlier orders that directed the protest at Faizabad Interchange to be dislodged.
Acting upon the court-set deadline, the district administration had set a 10PM target on Friday for protesters to end the sit-in, which, as it turns out, was ignored.
Protesters have not taken the court orders seriously, Justice Siddiqui had remarked during the court proceedings, adding that the district administration has failed to use its powers.
“Freedom of expression does not mean that the rights of other citizens are usurped,” he added.
Ahsan Iqbal said that there is no need to continue the protest as clause pertaining to Khatam-e-Nabuwat (Finality of Prophethood) has been restored to its original form.
“The protesters no longer need to protest as we have given them a bigger law than they asked for”, he remarked, adding “the issue has been resolved”.
All the parties came together to restore the clauses of Khatam-e-Nabuwat [Finality of Prophethood] to their original form, he said while speaking to media at Press Information Department on Friday.
The Senate on Friday passed the Elections Amendment Bill, 2017, related to Khatam-e-Nabuwat clauses for voters, after the National Assembly (NA) did the same on Thursday.
Two religious parties have been camping at the key route linking Islamabad and Rawalpindi for nearly 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.
They have demanded the resignation of Law Minister Zahid Hamid and other officials responsible for what the government termed a ‘clerical mistake’.
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