Islamabad in Agony as Protests Enter Third Week

The religious sit-in led by cleric Khadim Rizvi started on 8th November to protest against the change in the clause of Khatam-e-Nabuwwat (Finality of Prophethood) which was reverted to original form a few days ago. The protesters demand the resignation of the law minister. There have been two rounds of talks between the government and protesters with no breakthrough.

Now the sit-in has entered its third week which has paralyzed the life of residents of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Faizabad interchange, which is used by most residents of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, has been closed due to the camped-up religious protestors.

It looks like the government’s policy to wait out the blockade is working as the number of protesters is decreasing day by day. The government has not accepted the demands of the protesters.

The protesters started their march from Lahore on November 6 and eventually started their sit-in on November 8. The protesters, during the start of the sit-in, had energy and they seemed prepared but the energy has decreased due to the recent cold weather. The number of protesters is decreasing due to fatigue.

The police have separated the protesters by placing containers and barbed wires in all four sides of the protesters. Surrounding areas and paths have also been blocked by the police halting all types of traffic which is resulting in even more issues for the public.Isolated protesters, who were wandering away from the camped area of the sit-in, were arrested by the police.

Police say they have arrested around 150 protesters over the past few days. At least 19 FIRs have also been registered against Rizvi and hundreds of other organisers and participants of the protest.

The government has tasked a mediatory committee of clerics to talk and convince the organisers to open the Islamabad Expressway and let the Metro Bus function.

Army and Government on the Same Page

The leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah advised the government to seek assistance from the military forces to end the sit-in.

After the remarks by the opposition leader, Inter-Services Public Relation (ISPR) chief Major General Asif Ghafoor said that they will assist the government in any action they would take to end the sit-in. He said that it would be preferable to end the sit-in peacefully but they are on the same page with the government.

Attack on Policemen last night

Police had arrested 42 protesters who attacked and injured policemen and FC late last night. The protesters injured FC members and 12 policemen including a superintendent last night by means of stone pelting.

The protesters also beat up two journalists who were trying to capture images of the attack on the policemen. They tried to snatch their cameras so that they can remove the evidence.