Govt has 48 hours to resolve Islamabad sit-in issue

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Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Monday renewed hopes for a successful negotiation with protesters camped out at Faizabad Interchange after pleading Islamabad High Court (IHC) for more time to implement the court orders. On this, the IHC gave 48 hours more to the city administration to evict the protesters.

It merits highlighting here that the court had permitted the district administration to exercise its authority and advised the deployment of the Punjab Rangers or the Frontier Constabulary, if needed.

Daily life in the capital has been paralysed for almost two weeks by protesters belonging to religious parties, including the Tehreek-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwwat, Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY) and the Sunni Tehreek Pakistan (ST), calling for the sacking of Law Minister Zahid Hamid and strict action against those behind the amendment to the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat oath ─ which had earlier been deemed a "clerical error" and subsequently rectified.

Later, the judge adjourned the hearing till Thursday and asked that the issue should be resolved by the next hearing.

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.

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"The pressure on us is increasing, and the court has also given us an order [to end the sit-in]", he said.

A Pakistani court on November 20 has granted the government three more days to find a way to clear an Islamist rally near the capital, Islamabad.

The interior minister said that in the next few days, the nation would be celebrating Eid Miladun Nabi and, therefore, the protesters should ensure that no tense situation was created during these days.

Chairman Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, on Saturday urged the federal government to hold talks with protestors of religious groups to peacefully end the two-week-long sit-in at Faizabad Interchange outside Islamabad. The change, dubbed a clerical error by the government, was immediately fixed as an amendment was passed later.

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