Pak govt caves in to protestors’ demands

Islamabad : Pakistan’s federal government on late Sunday night signed an agreement with the Tehreek-e-Labaik Yah Rasool Allah Pakistan (TLYRAP), laying down, apart from the suspension of Law Minister Zahid Hamid, a number of agreed demands.

The development came in the face of the growing countrywide protests by religious zealots over the Khatam-e-Nabuwwat clause fiasco, after Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and his team intervened following the military stepping-in to resolve the Faizabad sit-in through negotiations.

The ‘Faizabad dharna’ started after the cleric, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, and his followers demanded resignation of Hamid, as they saw the change in the words of an oath taken by the lawmakers as blasphemy. Though the change was reversed, the protestors continued to demand Hamid’s resignation.

The document, signed by Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Interior Secretary Arshad Mirza, Khadim Hussein Rizvi, Pir Muhammad Afzal Qadri, Muhammad Waheed Noor and senior ISI official Major-General Faiz Hamid, said the government had agreed to the terms put forth by the religious staging sit-in for three weeks.

In the agreement, the TLYRAP has said that they were only expressing their opinion on the amendment in Khatm-e-Nabuwwat clause and regretted the government’s use of force on November 25, The Express Tribune reported.

The provisions, as reported by The Express Tribune, are:

– Law minister Zahid Hamid is suspended, the TLYRAP will not issue any ‘fatwa’ against him

– The government had already reinstated amendments to the Election Act 2017 clauses 7A and 7B relating to Khatm-e-Nabuwwat (the finality of the prophethood). They had 30 days to release the Raja Zafarul Haq report. TLYRAP has demanded the government prosecute those responsible for the ‘clerical mistake’ under the law and constitution of Pakistan

– All the workers and participants of the sit-in who have been arrested by security officials since its start on November 6 should be released and all the cases against them be dropped.

– Formation of an inquiry team to investigate the security action against TLYRAP sit-in on November 25. Those responsible should be prosecuted within 30 days

– The federal and provincial government should compensate for all personal and public damages caused in the entire duration of the sit-in

– The Punjab Government should fulfill demands previously agreed upon

Hamid had earlier tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. His resignation will be accepted later in the day.

Upon the declaration of demands from the concerned authorities, the religious party will end the protest and will also urge their allies to maintain peace in Pakistan.

The protests which took place in Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa resulted in at least one death and left dozens injured, besides the 250 injuries reported in Islamabad.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) had warned it would not cover Faizabad sit-in during a police crackdown on the protestors. Following the PEMRA order, there was a media blackout in Islamabad, where almost all leading private TV channels went off air. (ANI)