Ahsan Iqbal hopes Faizabad sit-in will soon end peacefully

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Ahsan said that it was the duty of the protesters to oblige to the orders of Islamabad High Court.

A heavy contingent of Islamabad Police, Frontier Corps and Rangers personnel arrived on Saturday morning at the Faizabad, equipped with tear gas and shell guns to disperse the crowd that have been protesting since 12 days at the interchange.

The TLY had occupied the Faizabad Bridge which connects Rawalpindi and Islamabad through the Islamabad Expressway and Murree Road, both of which are the busiest roads in the twin cities.

The decision to defer the operation was made after talks were held with the protestors.

The protestors, staging a sit-in at Faizabad Interchange, remained put as the deadline to vacate the vital junction passed on Friday night.

SSP Traffic Islamabad Malik Matloob Ahmed Awan and Chief Traffic Officer (CTO) Chaudhry Yousaf Ali Shahid have evolved special traffic plans by deputing extra force in a bid to give ambulances a clear route to hospitals. Therefore, he said now there was no justification for any sit-in to protest on this issue.

Acting upon the court-set deadline, the district administration had set a 10PM target on Friday for protesters to end the sit-in, which was ignored.

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"Freedom of expression does not mean that the rights of other citizens are usurped", he added.

However, there's no sign of a breakthrough yet as hardline clerics leading the protest have vowed not to end the sit-in until their demand of resignation of Federal Minister for Law Zahid Hamid is met by the government, saying they were ready to embrace "martyrdom" in case the government goes ahead with the operation.

Justice Siddiqui maintained that the administration failed to play its due role in resolving the crisis and merely watched the spectacle unfold as a "cricket spectator".

In a written order issued later, the judge asked the government why it failed to control the situation and allow the protesters to occupy Faizabad Interchange instead of directing them to the designated venue for protests - Parade Ground.

On Thursday, the National Assembly had passed the Elections (Amendment) Bill 2017 to restore Khatm-i-Nabuwwat laws to their original form and make sections relating to it "more effective".

Two religious parties have been camped at the key route linking Islamabad and Rawalpindi for almost two weeks in protest against the government's change, and then reversal, of the finality of Prophethood oath for lawmakers when it passed the Elections Act, 2017 last month.

The minister, Zahid Hamid, apologized for the omission of the phrase how Muhammad is the last prophet in Islam, saying it was a clerical mistake that was later corrected.

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