Ahsan orders to hold action against Islamabad protesters for 24 hours

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal Friday urged the representatives of a religious group, protesting at Faizabad interchange to call off their sit-in and obey law of the land in larger interest of the country.

Furthermore, the minister ordered Islamabad administration to hold action against protesters for 24 hours as deadline given by Islamabad High Court (IHC) ended today. 

He urged the religious leadership of the country to play its role to avert the collision. 

According to sources, a government delegation including Raja Zafar-ul-Haq and Ahsan Iqbal will meet protesters’ leaders in Islamabad today. 

Addressing a press conference here, he again invited them for talks to remove their reservations about the finality of the Prophet-hood law, if any.

The minister said the government wanted to end the sit-in peacefully through dialogue.

“We request them to end the protest as they have got registered their protest. The parliament has already made finality of Prophet-hood law foolproof and there is no ambiguity and shortcoming in it”, he said.

He said now there was no justification to continue the sit-in, which was causing great inconvenience and hardship to people including patients, students, employees of the twin cities.

He categorically said firm belief in Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) as the last Messenger of Allah Almighty, was the fundamental part of Islamic faith, which was also an integral part of the Constitution.
He said the matter had already been settled once for all and it should not be politicized, keeping in view of its sensitivity as the error in the Electoral Reforms Bill-2017 had been undone.

He said creating doubts about the finality of Prophet-hood law, any propaganda on social media or religious hatred were not in Pakistan’s interests and it should be avoided keeping in-view the prevailing situation.
“Anti-Pakistan lobby is using pictures of sit-in against us and it earns bad name to the country at international level,” he said, adding that it was need of the hour to forge unity and foil anti-Pakistan conspiracies.

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said the Parliament itself was a defender of the finality of Prophet-hood law that not only restored the law to its original form but also incorporated more clauses to make it more effective.
He said if the protestors still had any doubt in this regard, the government was ready to address those through dialogue.

However, he said it was also totally unjustified to mislead the people and instigate them on violence.
He said, “Islam allows none to cause inconvenience for the general public and blocking the ways has no moral, religious and constitutional justification.”

The minister said the Islamabad High Court had also issued notice to end the sit-in immediately as it was creating inconvenience to the general public which was contrary to the basic fundamental rights of the citizens.
To a question, he said long march and rallies were fundamental rights of the people. However, he said both the Punjab and federal governments engaged the group in talks from the day one and no hindrance was created in their way from Lahore to Islamabad.

He said the protesting group committed not to block any road nor create any hurdles which could cause inconvenience to the people.

However, he said they violated the commitment made with the government.

To another question, the minister said the government showed restraint while dealing with the protesters.
“The sit-in will only benefit the enemies of Pakistan as a high level delegation from China is due in Islamabad on Monday for 7th Pakistan-China Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting,” he said.

Regarding presence of armed people among the participants of the sit-in, the minister said some subversive elements wanted the recurrence of Model Town-like incident to take advantage of the situation.
He urged the leadership of the sit-in to foil the conspiracy which could beget law and order, he added.

To another query whether the law enforcement agencies were capable of handling such a mob, Ahsan Iqbal said the forces were very much capable to cope with any untoward situation.

He said keeping in view the sensitivity of the issue, former prime minister and president PML-N Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, had constituted a committee comprising senior members of the party to probe into the controversial mistake in the election bill.

However, the committee was yet to draft its final report, he said.

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