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Deadlock persists as Islamabad protest continues for 16th consecutive day

ISLAMABAD: The hundreds of activists and supporters of Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah continued on Tuesday the blockade of Faizabad Interchange for the 16th consecutive day.

The stalemate between the government and the protesters is persisting as the fourth round of talks between the two sides ended inconclusively the previous day.

The protesters have occupied the Faizabad Interchange, which connects Rawalpindi and Islamabad, multiplying hardships of the people of the twin cities.

On Monday, the government convened a meeting of leading scholars belong to the various schools of thought in a bid to find a negotiated end to the protest, which has paralyzed life in the capital for two weeks.

At the marathon meeting held at the Punjab House, it was decided to form a committee headed by Pir Haseenuddin Shah to propose a comprehensive solution to the sit-in.

A day earlier, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) granted two days’ time to the administration to clear the Faizabad Interchange of the protesters.

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal appeared before the court and requested it to grant 48 hours to tackle the issue peacefully.

“The government does not want a showdown resulting in another Lal Mosque [Lal Masjid] or Model Town like incident,” he said while appearing optimistic for productive talks with the protesters.

He said there is no legal justification of protest after a bill passed unanimously by both houses of the parliament concerning the finality of Prophethood (Khatm-e-Nabuwwat).

Pakistani parliament and nation are defenders of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat, Iqbal underlined.

However, the interior minister said the Frontier Corps and Punjab Rangers personnel would remain deployed to avoid any kind of eventuality.

Contempt notices

IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, during the court proceedings, issued contempt of court notices to Chief Commissioner Islamabad, Deputy Chief Commissioner, Interior Minister, Interior Secretary and Inspector General of Police (IGP) over non-compliance of the court orders.

Expressing resentment over non-compliance of orders, the IHC judge posed a question as to why the federal capital administration had been unsuccessful in exercising its authority to end the protest.

The IHC judge was hearing a petition filed by citizen Abdul Qayyum after passing directives to authorities concerned to ensure the dispersal of protesters on the same petition three days ago.

Granting 48-hours of time to the interior minister, the court then adjourned the hearing till November 23 (Thursday).



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