Federal Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar confirmed that the pro-Qadri protestors camped at D-Chowk have agreed to disperse. Nisar, however said there has been no written agreement with the protestors and those responsible for damaging public property will be punished.

According to reports a seven-point verbal agreement between government and Ullema representing the pro-Qadri protestors in D-Chowk had been reached, Waqt News reported. The seven points are as follows:

‘1. All arrested during the sit-in will be released.

2. All cases against various Ullema will be reevaluated.

3. Section 295-C of Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law will neither be changed nor reevaluated.

4. No person involved in blasphemy will be spared.

5. Ministry of religious affairs will be told about the implications of Nizam-e-Mustafa (SAW).

6. The schedule list will be evaluated and the names of innocent will be extracted from the list.

7. All cases against protestors will be annulled’

Earlier it had been reported that leaders of the pro-Qadri protestors, camped in D-Chowk Islamabad, are ready to take back all their all demands. According to initial reports their only demand had been that the government should retract cases against them and give them a safe exit.

The government had launched an operation following the failure of the negotiations over the past two days.  Security personnel including police and Rangers initiated the first phase of operation against protestors staging their sit-in with children and elders being extracted from the area.

“Respectable personalities did a great work in last minutes,” Nisar said while addressing the press conference. “Punjab Government gave permission for the Chehlum with good intention. Some people staged sit-ins while taking advantage of the gathering.

Nisar said no rallies would be allowed in the area henceforth.

“The tradition of arranging rallies at D-Chowk started from the Zia-ul-Haq era, but from now on no religious or political party will be allowed to arrange rally here,” he said. “Any sit-in in this area means that you halt the whole system of the government. From now on police will be given powers to implement their writ in this area in case of a rally or sit-in.”

While talking about the operation against the protestors he said that the first deadline given to the protestors was 4pm. “Then after interference of some respectful personalities it was delayed to 6 pm,” he said.

The interior minister said that 1,070 people have been arrested during this protest and after detailed investigation, they will be released. “The people who have attacked Metro Bus station, Safe City cameras, torched the Fire Brigade and broke the state property will taken to the court as they have been identified. The rest will be released,” he said.

While answering the question regarding the agreement that there is no written agreement has been signed between government and the leaders of the protest. “No one has the authority from the government to finalize any deal in writing.”

The Federal Minister further stated that the initial deadline had not been met yesterday because it was late at night and administratively it was not possible. “Also the respectable personalities of this area assured us that they will make the protestors agree to leave the place. Furthermore the Islamabad police do not have the strength to do this large scale operation so we had to call the force from other cities.” 

The Interior Minister said everyone should be happy that the protest has ended amicably. “Now everyone should know that D-Chowk is not a place for religious and political rallies.”

According to sources, while the operation was underway negotiations still continued at Punjab House, Islamabad. They were the ‘last-ditch’ efforts to resolve the issue amicably, government sources told media.

According to sources Shah Noorani and other Ullema were talking to Sarwat Ijaz Qadri and other leaders of the sit-in. Dr Asif Asharaf Jalali, Sarwat Ijaz Qadri and Maulana Khadim Hussain were the Ullemas representing the pro-Qadri protestors.

Senior PML-N leaders and federal ministers Ishaq Dar and Saad Rafique represented the government in the negotiations. Peer Aminul Hasnaat was also a government representative while Rafiq Pardesi and Ahmad Noorani played the role of mediators.

Earlier, security institutions had been instructed to conduct operation ‘without using hard power,’ government sources told the media.

According to reports, the decision to initiate the operation was taken after a high level meeting of the government chaired by Federal Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

The protestors began their sit-in inside the Red Zone, Islamabad on the Chehlum of Mumtaz Qadri four days ago. The protestors had lit up the containers, CDA vehicle and a Metro Bus Station in Islamabad during their protest.

They had presented 10 demands to the government which include official recognition of Qadri as a ‘martyr’, maintenance of the blasphemy law in existing form and execution of everyone under custody after being indicted over blasphemy, including Asia Bibi.

The protestors had refused to talk with the Islamabad authorities and have demanded that unless the presence of political leadership of ruling party, there will be no negotiations.

The government had tried to resolve the issue amicably and has given three deadlines to the protestors to leave Red Zone but all had gone futile.