Govt tasks negotiating committee to settle matters with protesters by 5 pm
According to details, the government has provided the negotiating committee the ultimatum to resolve all matter with D-Chowk protesters by five pm. Sources said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself was personally overseeing the developments regarding the sit-in protest at D-Chowk.
Police and rangers personnel took up positions at the D-Chowk. Punjab police personnel are armed with tear-gas shells and sticks. All surrounding offices were emptied and employees of the Senate and National Assembly secretariat were given the day off. Earlier, Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar had said that the area would be cleared from protesters by daylight.
The sit-in protest by activists of religious parties and those loyal to Mumtaz Qadri continued, entering its fourth day. Back-door negotiations between the government and protesters were underway to find a peaceful resolution to the problem. Additional contingents of FC personnel arrived at the Red Zone. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has summoned Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar for an advisory meeting.
Last night, police and Rangers personnel arrested more than two hundred and forty participants of the sit-in protest. The arrested were transferred to Attock jail. Residents of Islamabad complained of suffering from suspended Metro bus service, especially students and government employees who made use of the bus service to commute from Islamabad to Rawalpindi, or vice versa. Suspension of mobile phone services in the federal capital also caused difficulties to denizens of the city.
Last night, Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar held a press conference and slammed protesters, warning them that if they did not vacate D-Chowk tomorrow, an operation will be held to expel them from the venue within an hour. Nisar also requested presence of media personnel at the event so that the nation could witness that the government did not use any undue force against protesters.
The tense situation, which has entered its fourth day now, has put pressure on the government. Opposition parties have severely taken to task the government and criticised it for failing to exercise its writ over the state. Yesterday, news spread that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had decided that an operation should be conducted to drive out protesters from D-Chowk area and clear the Red Zone.