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IHC issues contempt notice to Ahsan Iqbal over Islamabad sit-in

ISLAMABAD: Expressing extreme displeasure over the government for its failure to clear the capital’s busy artery of protesters, the Islamabad High Court on Friday issued a contempt of court notice to Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui directed the interior minister to appear before the court on Monday along with an explanation for flouting its order with regard to evicting the defiant protesters from the Faizabad Interchange.

He observed that fundamental rights of the people were being violated. “This is the failure of the government,” Justice Siddiqui noted, adding “but we will not let the state to fail.”

The Chief Commissioner Islamabad told the judge that the administration couldn’t carry out an operation to remove the protesters from the Faizabad Interchange because the use of force could lead to bloodshed.

To a query, he said the interior minister has restrained the administration from acting against the protesters.

Hundreds of activists and supporters of Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah have camped out at the Faizabad Interchange that connects Rawalpindi and Islamabad, adding to the suffering of the people of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court expressed extreme annoyance over the government for its failure to end the Faizabad sit-in.

A two-judge bench of the apex court, comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Qazi Faiz Isa, rejected the reports submitted by the intelligence agencies and directed them to inform it as to who is funding the protesters.

It observed that the court was not asking to spray the protesters with bullets, but want to know whether any investigation was carried out to ascertain who was bankrolling them.

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal a day earlier said the Islamabad protesters have political ambitions as they wanted to garner support ahead of the next elections.

He said the protesters wanted to dent the ruling party’s vote bank, by pitting the PML-N against a particular sect.

Iqbal said the government is actively engaged in dialogue with the protesters to find a peaceful end to the protest.

He said he can clear the Faizabad Interchange of the protesters within three hours, but it could led to bloodshed or a repeat of the Lal Masjid operation.

The interior minister said there was no justification for seeking the resignation of Law Minister Zahid Hamid since he had no role in the now-withdrawn amendment in Khatm-e-Nabuwwat declaration for electoral candidates.



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