ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has arrived at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) after he and interior secretary were summoned by the court on the non-implementation of its order, calling for an immediate end of the Faizabad sit-in.
Hearing the case regarding the sit-in, Justice Shaukat Siddiqui expressed reservations saying that the government did not implement his order to clear the protest by 10am Saturday despite his clear-cut directions to the local administration.
The judge said that he will issue a ‘contempt of court’ order in this regard and ordered the interior ministry’s top officials to be present in court today.
Commuters in the twin cities continue to face hardship as the protest sit-in at Faizabad Interchange, linking the main Islamabad-Rawalpindi route, by religious parties enters its fifteenth day today.
The daily deployment of police and paramilitary personnel is costing the government Rs5 million every day.
The consultative meeting, to be held at the Religious Affairs Ministry, is the latest effort on behalf of the government to bring the protest to a peaceful end.
The meeting will have a single-point agenda: how to resolve the crisis in the capital.
Iqbal, Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Raja Zafarul Haq and State Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Aminul Hasnaat have previously met a number of protest leaders in view of reaching a breakthrough to end the sit-in.
The interior minister in his press conference 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.
Addressing the media alongside State Minister for Religious Affairs, Iqbal had said the government will go “to any extent” to resolve the issue, including a security operation, adding that protesters blocking the Faizabad Interchange are engaging in a propaganda to incite emotions of the people.
“Our forces have the capability to clear the area but we are keeping the operation as the last option. This is not a sign of weakness but we are doing this out of respect [for the matter of finality of Prophethood].”
The protest has nothing to do with religion or religious demands and “such organisations” take these steps to advance ahead of elections, he said.
“The protesters demand that Law Minister Zahid Hamid should step down; however, there is no proof that he is responsible for the mistake. A committee has been formed in this regard which will probe the matter so there is no justification for the protest,” he said.
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