- TLYR leadership pressures government to accept demands
ISLAMABAD: Two religious clerics, who had been banned from entering Islamabad by Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration, not only managed to successfully enter the capital but were also able to hold separate protests on October 23 and November 7 respectively, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Dr Asif Ashraf Jalali and Maulana Khadim Hussain Rizvi were among a number of religious scholars and sectarian agitators whom ICT administration banned from entering Islamabad on September 21 for two months to maintain peace during the month of Muharram.
Due to the protest led by Maulana Khadim Hussain Rizvi on Wednesday, the citizens of twin cities Islamabad and Rawalpindi faced severe road blockages on the Islamabad Highway, the 9th Avenue and Blue Area’s Jinnah Avenue. Alternative routes announced by Islamabad traffic police were also choked by late Wednesday evening.
The protestors, belonging to the Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR), arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday and demanded that the government identified and punished the persons responsible behind the recent change of wording in the declaration of finality of prophethood in election laws. More than 3,000 protestors participated in the rally and staged a temporary sit-in in Faizabad. Addressing a press conference on Wednesday evening, Maulana Rizvi said that they wouldn’t leave Islamabad until their demands were met.
An official of the administration complained, “It is sheer negligence on Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration’s behalf that a banned cleric was able to enter into the capital and make demands from the federal government. The Islamabad police and administration seem to have lost their writ since a group of people ‘managed’ to choke the capital twice in a week.”
According to sources, district administration and local police have made arrangements to prevent the protesters from entering the Red Zone. All entry and exit points of the Red Zone including D Chowk have been completely sealed. District administration and the police are also in contact with Rawalpindi administration for joint security arrangements.
Meanwhile, the capital’s roads face severe blockages and diversion plans are in effect. Under these, Kalsoom plaza, Jinnah Avenue and Punjab Express Chowk will remain closed on both sides for traffic, while commuters would be able to use Fazl-e-Haq, Nazim-ud-Din and Margalla roads instead. Similarly, the road from State Bank Chowk to Radio Pakistan would also remain closed while commuters would be able to use Embassy Road and Margalla Road instead. The road from Kurianwala Chowk to Dhokri Kashmir Highway would also be closed for traffic.
According to sources, the protestors are presenting six demands for the government. These are the ending of restrictions of the registration of FIR under 295/C, hanging of all culprits involved in blasphemy, taking action against those involved in amending the affidavit of finality of prophethood, abolishing the loudspeaker act, ending cases against leaders and workers of the Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah and including Islamic teachings in the curriculum which were previously excluded.
When contacted, an official of district administration said that there was no deadlock between the Tehreek and government, adding that there was hope that an understanding between the two parties would be reached as early as Thursday. However, the government is also fully prepared to deal with any untoward situation and has about 10,000 law-enforcers deputed for the purpose.
This was the second of two rallies conducted for similar purposes by two factions of Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah. The Khadim Hussain Rizvi faction of the Tehreek had dissociated itself from Dr Asif Ashraf Jalali’s Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah, which ended its six-day sit-in in Lahore and Islamabad a few days back (Sunday). The earlier rally had failed to attract a lot of attention due to its small number of participants.