ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Monday that certain political and religious parties politicised the issue regarding the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat oath, turning the Faizabad Interchange sit-in violent.
“The violent protest at the Faizabad Interchange created problems for the government,” said the interior minister.
The minister went on to say that the controversial law was passed after the approval and consultation with all political parties and added that the sit-in by members of the religious party has left a number of questions for the nation.
Expressing hope that the situation all over the country will normalise soon, Ahsan Iqbal said all matters have been settled with the protesters and the sites have been cleared.
“During the sit-in protest people were instigated and homes were attacked,” said the minister, questioning why the protesters had attacked the houses of Muslims who believed in the finality of Prophethood.
Elaborating on the operation which took place on Saturday to disperse protesters from the Faizabad Interchange, Iqbal said the operation was launched without the ownership of the political leadership.
The interior minister said the executive must be given time to execute its responsibilities. “When others do not give time to the executive, how would the performance improve?”
He went on to say that the government now has to ponder over a plan to compensate the loss incurred during the sit-in protest.
SOME FORCES WORKING AGAINST CPEC:
Talking to a private news channel, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said that some forces were working to halt the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
“CPEC is a gift for Pakistan and some forces are working against it,” he said.
On the Faizabad sit-in, he said that it had created bad image of the country.
Discouraging protests and sit-in in the federal capital, he said this practice should be stopped in future. The footage showing attacks on the houses was shameful, he said.
To a question, the minister said that a meeting chaired by the prime minister was held here in which military leadership was also present. In the meeting, collective decision was taken regarding the issue of protesters staging sit-in at Faizabad Interchange.
He said that it was the responsibility of the religious parties to show the true picture of Islam which teaches love, tolerance and harmony.
PTI ATTACKED NAROWAL RESIDENCE:
About the attack on his Narowal residence, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said a group of rioters led by a local leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had attacked his house in Narowal.
Commenting on remarks of former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Ahsan Iqbal said, “Chaudhry Nisar may say whatever he wants. But, I must demonstrate magnanimity.”
Talking to another news channel, the minister said some forces were thinking that the government could be toppled as a result of such protests, but this would not happen on ground.
“I am thankful that all the matters have been taken care of,” he added.
The government and Faizabad protesters reached an agreement on Monday to end the sit-in after the former caved into the protesters’ demand and Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi which he accepted later in the day.
Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasoolullah (TLYR) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi made the official announcement to end the sit-in around 10:30am. The cleric said they have been given 12 hours to move out.
He called upon the protesters across the country to end the demonstrations and said that the Faizabad-based protesters are packing up their things and will soon vacate the sit-in site.
Rizvi also temporarily took the media hostage after he learned that his press conference was not given live coverage due to the government’s ban. However, media personnel were given safe passage after the Rangers intervened.
Earlier, despite the agreement, the protesters were present at Faizabad Interchange in Islamabad, as well as various places across the country.
The Faizabad protest had paralysed life in the twin cities for three weeks before an operation of security forces was finally launched on Saturday in keeping with the court’s orders.
The operation had continued all day on Saturday. Tensions had remained high in the federal capital on Sunday when the Rangers were handed over charge of the operation.
After negotiations late Sunday night, the government gave in to the protesters’ demand for the resignation of Law Minister Zahid Hamid, among other conditions. Subsequently, the TLYR chief on Monday ordered his followers to end sit-ins across the country.