Khadim Rizvi calls off sit-in as govt caved in to demands

Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasoolullah (TLYR) Chairman Khadim Hussain Rizvi has called off the Faizabad sit-in after government and his party reached to an agreement today. 

“Agreement has been signed so all protesters in other cities should go to their homes peacefully,” he said. 

Earlier, Minister for law and parliamentary affairs Zahid Hamid  tendered resignation to Prime Minister Abbasi  voluntarily.

Zahid Hamid offered the resignation to steer the country out of the prevailing critical situation.

He said that the Election Act was formulated by a parliamentary committee comprising members belonging to all political parties. 

Zahid Hamid will issue his detailed statements later on.

The main clauses of signed agreement are: 

  • Law Minister Zahid Hamid must resign and Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya-Rasulullah (TLYR) will not issue any ‘Fatwa’ against him
  • Inquiry report by Raja Zafar-ul-Haq will be made public within next 30 days and action should be taken against responsible for the mistake
  • The arrested protesters will be released within next three days

In the end documents credited Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa and his representatives for this agreement. 

“We are great full to General Bajwa and his representatives who helped in signing this agreement and save the country from great loss,” the document read. 

The decision to capitulate to the protesters’ demands is a major embarrassment for the embattled ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) as it eyes elections in 2018, analysts said, and underscores the influence of religious groups in the nuclear-armed nation.

The previously obscure Islamist group has been calling for weeks for Hamid’s ousting over a hastily-abandoned amendment to the oath which election candidates must swear.

Monday’s announcement came after a botched operation on Saturday to disperse the demonstrators sparked violence in Islamabad that left at least seven people dead and hundreds wounded. It fuelled the spread of the protests to major cities across the country including Karachi and Lahore.

The government ordered police and paramilitaries to stand down after the clashes and called on the army to intervene to restore order. By Monday morning there still had been no official response from the military.

The sit-in has enraged commuters in Islamabad and neighbouring Rawalpindi with hours-long traffic snarls, caused the death of at least one child whose ambulance could not reach hospital in time, and infuriated the judiciary.

Hamid’s ousting is the latest in a series of heavy blows to the ruling party.

In July Nawaz Sharif was deposed as prime minister by the courts over graft allegations, while finance minister Ishaq Dar — also accused of corruption — has taken indefinite medical leave.

“Politically, this is a major embarrassment for the PML-N,” analyst Hasan Askari told AFP, warning that it would undermine their credibility and predicting more defections.

He also warned it had strengthened the position of hardline Islamic groups like TLY, whose campaigning in the upcoming elections could further weaken the PML-N. The party has previously benefited from the right-wing religious vote.

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