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Islamabad sit-in: Civil-Military officials decide to engage protesters in negotiations

ISLAMABAD: Top civil and military officials decided to engage the protesters in political negotiations, discarding an option relating use of force to disperse them, sources privy to development said on Sunday.

According to sources, Pakistan Army troops will be deployed around the government properties and remain restricted to sensitive areas of the federal capital city.

The military officials, during the meeting chaired by Prime Minister at PM House in Islamabad, called for a peaceful solution, the sources added.

Chief of Army Staff Qamar Jawed Bajwa, who reached the country on Saturday night after curtailing his visit to UAE, was in attendance at meeting headed by PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Director-General (DG) Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Naveed Mukhtar, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif were also among the dignitaries attended the meeting.

Similar considerations were made at a meeting of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi earlier today.

Both dignitaries decided to engage religious parties and scholars to find a peaceful solution of the sit-in and take the military leadership into confidence over the issue.

Meanwhile, Rangers have been given charge of the Islamabad operation to control the chaotic atmosphere in the federal capital city. Around 1,000 personnel of Punjab Rangers have taken position in the front line of the security operation while police along with FC personnel relegated to back positions.

Earlier on Saturday, the police and FC personnel were in the front line. The desperate government called out the army to control the law and order situation in Islamabad on Saturday night after a daylong botched operation to disperse protesters.

The Ministry of Interior on Saturday issued a notification to authorize deployment of the Pakistan Army troops in the federal capital to assist civil authorities under Article 245 of the constitution.



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