Faizabad sit-in continues to trouble citizens on 17th day

ISLAMABAD (Sarzameen News)- Faizabad sit-in by a religious party entered its seventeenth day Wednesday and prolonged protest has compounded miseries of people of the twin cities of Rawalpindi-Islamabad and surrounding areas.

Blockade of main entry and exit points of the twin cities and traffic diversions are resulting in traffic mess, forcing commuters to spend hours on roads. Besides serious disruption to business activities in some areas; office goers, students, daily wage earners and patients are worst victims of the on-going phenomenon.

The Government has made several attempts to resolve the issue peacefully and through negotiations but so far these have not borne any fruit because of rigid stance of the protestors.

The Interior Minister after a meeting with Ulema and Mashaikh formed a Committee to help resolve the stand-off peaceful. The Supreme Court and Islamabad High Court have also taken notice of the sit-in.

Meanwhile, a five-member arbitration committee of ulema has been formed on Wednesday to negotiate between the government and Sunni Tehreek and Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah, who are staging sit-in at Faizabad Interchange.

Ministry of Religious Affairs’ Pir Hussain-ud-Din led committee will devise proper suggestions to end sit-in.

The other members also include Dr Sajid-ur-Rehman, Pir Zia-ud-Din Shah, Moulana Abdul Sattar Syedi, Ghulam Nizam-ud-Din Shah Jami and Syed Habib-ul-Haq Shah.

On Tuesday, Supreme Court issued notices to defence secretary, interior secretary, attorney general and advocate generals of Islamabad and Punjab over sit-in matter.

On Monday, Islamabad High Court (IHC) had issued contempt of court notices to the interior secretary, chief commissioner, deputy commissioner and Islamabad inspector general, and gave a 48-hour deadline to Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal to end the Faizabad sit-in.

The IHC also turned down the federation’s request to conduct the hearing inside the judge’s chamber and remarked that those times have gone when proceedings and reports were kept secret. The court said everything will be done by keeping the nation in confidence.

Meanwhile, the government had also agreed to make recommendations of Raja Zafarul Haq committee public regarding the deadlock between rightist protesters and the government in Islamabad.

On the other hand, 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 had earlier delayed decision to use force against protesters after fourth round of talks ended at residence of Raja Zafarul Haq last night.

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.

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 had 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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