Court orders protesting religious parties to end Islamabad sit

People gather to catch a glimpse of protesters sitting at Faizabad

Two religious parties have been camped at the key route linking Islamabad and Rawalpindi for almost two weeks in protest against the government's change, and then reversal, of the finality of Prophethood oath for lawmakers.

Different groups of devotees wielded batons, iron rods and masks, and police personnel, with limited number and resources, seemed helpless to take action against the charged and furious protestors.

He said assistance could also be sought from the Rangers and Frontier Constabulary to disperse the protesters.

A high-level meeting, chaired by Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Captain (Retd) Mushtaq Ahmed, aimed at implementing the IHC orders, has now made a decision to give a final warning to the participants of the Islamabad sit-in.

Hundreds of supporters of the TLYR have blocked a main road to Islamabad since days, threatening violence if their demand that the Minister of Law Zahid Hamid to be sacked is not met. He added that the protesters are carrying weapons and predicted their strength to be around 2,000, with an increase witnessed on Fridays. He said conducting an operation in the dark may not be responsible. He pointed out that there is already a designated area for people to register their protests in the capital ─ the Democracy and Speech Corner.

"Freedom of expression does not mean that the rights of other citizens are usurped", he added.

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DIG Operations Mirwais Niaz, SSP and other senior officials of the capital administration also attended the meeting which was briefed by AIG Special Branch Captain (Retd) Muhammad Ilyas.

However, Justice Siddiqui said that the application will only be heard if the parties ended their sit-in.

The police, FC and Rangers will be deployed to assist in the operation, he added.

IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui was hearing a petition filed by citizen Abdul Qayyum.

Fed up with the public response in the twin cities, the cold response by federal government, and the rain which started Tuesday, the protesting clerics took to petitioning the IHC for "execution" of their demands. Their earlier demands, most of which have been taken back now, included the removal of Zahid Hamid and Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, blasphemy accused Asiya Bibi's execution, dismissal of cases against religious leaders, and the removal of various extremist clerics' names from the Fourth Schedule.

The Election (Amendment) Elections Bill 2017 has been passed both by the National Assembly and Senate, bringing the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat (finality of Prophethood) clause to its original form.

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