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Islamabad protesters lack justification to hold sit-in after bill passage: Iqbal

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Sunday reiterated that the protesters have no justification to remain camped out at Faizabad Interchange after restoration of 7B and 7C sections of Elections Amendment Bill 2017 pertaining to finality of Prophethood (Khatm-e-Nabuwwat), ARY News reported.

Addressing a press conference alongside State Minister for Religious Affairs Amin Hasnat Shah, Iqbal made an appeal to the protesters to call off sit-in peacefully since a negative impression has been emerging from the protest over the finality of Prophethood across the world.

“The entire nation, as Muslims, believes in Khatm-e-Nabuwwat and the government will make no compromise on the matter, Iqbal clarified.

He said it is settled forever for Pakistan that a person who did not believe in the finality of Prophethood lacked a legal right to call himself a ‘Muslim’ and all political parties unanimously passed the law in this regard.

He deplored an impression of government compromised on the finality of Prophethood.  “This impression is being ingrained into the public mind purposefully to provoke their sentiments,” the interior minister added.

He said its the masses suffering from the sit-in as traffic movement has been suspended in the twin-cities. The government delegation led by senior PML-N leader Raja Zafar-ul-Haq held marathon negotiations to break a deadlock but protesters are still maintaining their demand of Zahid Hamid’s resignation, he said.

“If the government send the law minister packing, it would eventually set a wrong precedent,” he underlined, adding, there was no proof that he was responsible for the mistake (amendment).

On the occasion, Iqbal called upon the countrywide clerics to convince the protesters to call off their sit-in peacefully.

The protesters have blocked the Faizabad Interchange, which connects Rawalpindi and Islamabad, multiplying hardships of the twin-cities residents.

The government is making all-out efforts to resolve the issue in an amicable manner since it is not a political demonstration but it resolves around religious sentiments, Iqbal said while indicating that the country cannot afford any kind of crisis at the moment.

‘Elections Amendment Bill 2017’

The Senate on Friday unanimously passed Elections (Amendment) Bill after the National Assembly approved revival of sections 7B and 7C to its original form.

The interior minister, in a statement, on Saturday said that the passage of the bill regarding finality of Prophet-hood is a historic achievement of the parliament and no one can alter this till the Day of Judgment, adding that after the passage of the bill, there is no justification for any sit-in.

Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah has been protesting for more than a week, demanding action against those involved in making an amendment to the clause pertaining to the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat oath for electoral candidates and the sacking of Law Minister Zahid Hamid.

IHC’s deadline to protesters

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday directed the capital administration to take all necessary steps to clear the Faizabad Interchange of protesters by 10:00 am Saturday and submit a compliance report. It directed the administration to take help of the Rangers and Frontier Constabulary (FC) to implement its order.

Later, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal requested the court to extend the deadline.



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