Islamabad/Rawalpindi - Adopting an aggressive posture, the participants of the sit-in of the Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) have started expanding venue of the sit-in at Faizabad Interchange here, as they have returned their rented vehicles to Lahore on the fourth day of the protest, according to the sources. 

The participants’ leadership has also threatened to block all airports, railway stations and major roads if law minister Zahid Hamid is not removed from his post, a demand seemingly unacceptable for the government.

The gesture suggests that the TLYR leadership has decided to continue their sit-in after developing a deadlock with the government on the acceptance of their demands.  Resignation of Law Minister Zahid Hamid is the major demand of the protesters, as in their opinion, he was the mastermind of amendment in Khatam-e-Nabuwwat declaration. According to the government functionaries, the deadlock between the two sides continues as the government seems in no mood to show flexibility on the demand of Zahid Hamid’s resignation.

According to the police sources, the protesters are aggressive and trying to expand their venue. Moreover, they have started stopping taxis at I-8 traffic signal, doing search of individuals at the venue points, retain mobiles of individuals during searching, forcibly stopping private vehicles (Murre to Lahore) and public transport. The reports said that the rented vehicles upon which they reached Islamabad have also been returned. Furthermore, the protestors have started setting up mobile dispensaries and bathrooms, according to the local police, suggesting they are going nowhere for the time being.

Around 3200/3400 in number, the protesters participated in Jumma Prayer at Faizabad Interchange. Sajjad Ahmed Advocate (Head of Bar Room Rawalpindi) also reached the spot and ensured cooperation from their side. Important among those present at the sit-in include Peer Muhammad Afzal Qadri (follower of Mrrarrian Sharef Gujrat and Head of Almi Tanzeem Ahl-e-Sunnat), Sahibzada Shafeeq Ameni (Head of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah KP, Peer Anaiyat Ulhaq Shah (Head of TLYR Rawalpindi), Allama Asim Rizvi (Head of TLYR Jehlum), Allama Fazal Kareem Chishti Golrrvi (Head of TLYR Jhang), Qari Waseem Abbasi (Head Sunni Tehreek Islamabad), Shaikh Ijaz (nominated member NA/120 TLYR Lahore), Qari Asmat Ullah Sialvi (Head of TLYR Sohawa), Ghulam Abass Zaidi (Divisional Leader TLYR Lahore), Ijaz Husain Ashraf (Central Secretary of TLYR Pakistan), Muhammad Anwar Gujjar (leader of TLYR Shaikhupura) and Peer Abdul Khaliq Sabri (Head of TLYR Nankana Sahib).

Peer Muhammad Afzal Qadri delivered Juma sermon in which he told the participants that their major demand was resignation of law minister Zahid Hamid. He said the government had desired for negotiations and interior minister Ahsan Iqbal wanted to come at the venue but they were told that there would be no negotiations till Zahid Hamid is removed. He threatened to block all airports, railway stations and major roads.  He further warned the ministers for being very careful because their supporters can harm their children. He said that the protesters will not back down from their demands and want to die for Khatam-e-Nabuwwat cause.  According to the sources, many of the protesters left the venue after Juma prayers.

On the other hand, the commuters continue to suffer and life for those who commute between the twin cities has been made miserable as most of the city roads remained blocked. Massive traffic congestion has been witnessed on the roads that are open for traffic. The partial suspension of the metro bus service also added to the inconveniencing of the commuters.

Islamabad police on Friday lodged two more cases against Khadim Hussain Rizvi, who is leading Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) protesters camped out at Faizabad interchange.

Rizvi has already been booked for the death of a child, who passed away after the ambulance taking him to a hospital was blocked by the protesters. Ther other leaders and participants of the Islamabad protest sit-in have been also nominated in the two First Information Report (FIRs). Staffers of a private TV channel nominated the protesting leaders in a case pertaining to the violence against the TV channel crew. According to the FIR, the media team was attacked, tortured, threatened and their vehicles were also smashed. The protesters also snatched their cameras, the complaint stated.

The second case was lodged on the complaint of Magistrate Ghulam Murtaza Chandio for the violation of Section 144 by the protesters, along with other charges. Both the cases were registered at the I-9 police station.

Meanwhile, Scores of violent protesters of Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (SAW) rally Friday climbed the Metro Bus Station at Faizabad and chanted slogans against the government for not taking action against the federal law minister and others involved in making an attempt to amend Khatm-e-Nabuwwat declaration for electoral candidates. A heavy contingent of police headed by Regional Police Officer and City Police Officer also reached the spot and pushed back the protesters towards Faizabad Interchange where their leadership has been staging sit-in by blocking all roads connecting the twin cities.

Meanwhile, city roads experienced a partial traffic jam with the traffic wardens seemed busy in easing the traffic flow in a bid to facilitate the commuters. 

Reportedly, some protesters also scuffled with motorcyclists when they tried to cross the barricades placed by them to block roads at Faizabad Interchange. The injured were shifted to nearby hospitals for medical treatment.

Meanwhile, life in the city remained normal since the district administration imposed section 144 and announced public holiday because of Chehlum of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA).

Following the instructions of CPO Israr Ahmed Khan Abbasi, a total of 2,500 well-equipped cops were deployed to shield the procession of Chelum that was appeared from Imambargah Ashiq Hussain and culminated at Qadeemi Imambargah Jamia Masjid Road after marching on its traditional routes.  Meanwhile, city traffic police have imposed a comprehensive traffic plan to facilitate mourners and general public.



tahir niaz/israr ahmad