ISLAMABAD - A day after a controversial army-brokered agreement between the government and the protesters that ended the Faizabad sit-in, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal took to the Twitter to defend the decision saying the government had no other choice except signing the ‘accord’.
The minister said that the government feared riots stretching across the country and sensitizing the situation, it had to quickly give in to the demands of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR). He also said that the final agreement to end the sit-in was not desirable but had to sign with no other options left.
'Doc (document) of finishing dharna was not desirable but there was a little choice because if the situation had persisted another 24 hrs (hours) there wud (would) b (be) riots,' he tweeted.
The minister said this after feeling the heat from local and international quarters over the deal that has raised questions the government’s writ and its failure to deal with a handful of protesters.
Ahsan also defended the army for brokering the deal as their role was being widely criticized locally and internationally.
In his second tweet, he said 'Civil & military leadership acted collectively 2 save the country from the threat of religion-based violence. We must heal wounds 2 unite the nation.'
The government is facing criticism for signing the agreement that was dubbed as one-sided only to give a safe exit to the TLYRA leadership and the protesters who crippled the life of the capital and the whole country for over 20 days.
Violence erupted in the country after a botched operation against the participants of the Faizabad sit-in who were demanding the resignation of Zahid Hamid, as federal law minister, for making a controversial change in the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat (PBUH) clause in the declaration form for electoral candidates.
Opposition politicians are saying that the deal was a complete surrender of the civilian government.
One of the points of the agreement says that the government will hold an inquiry, while taking into confidence TLYRA, about the use of force against the protesters to disperse them from the main interchange of the Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
The Islamabad High Court had ordered the interior ministry to vacate the area and the local administration said that action was taken on the IHC orders.
Independent observers are condemning this clause in the deal saying how the government would hold an inquiry against the police and local administration as the action was taken on the court orders. The agreement also called the TLYRA a peaceful party though critics say that the religious party held the whole country hostage for around 22 days.
Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani on Monday lashed out at the government for signing the deal and also criticized the role of the army saying such agreement was a threat to democracy and the state. He said that the civilian government was on the back foot.