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ISLAMABAD: Weighing in for the first time on the sit-in that has all but paralysed the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad for over two weeks, the military’s spokesperson said it would abide by the government’s decision on the matter.
In remarks released to the media on Wednesday night, Inter-Services Public Relations chief Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said that while it would be preferable to address the situation through peaceful means, the military would abide by whatever decision the government took.
Saying that the civil and military leaderships were on the same page when it came to the country’s security, he said that the army was duty-bound to carry out the government’s instructions.
The military spokesperson’s remarks came after Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah advised the government to seek assistance from the armed forces to end the sit-in that was causing great inconvenience to the people of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
“As many as two million people have been held hostage by these protesters. The government should use its constitutional powers to seek assistance from the armed forces of Pakistan [to end the sit-in],” Mr Shah said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
But despite two rounds of meetings, the government could not make any breakthrough in the deadlock with religious parties who are staging a sit-in at the Faizabad Interchange.
Lengthy consultations held at Punjab House and the PM Office dominated most of the day, as leaders scrambled to find a way to end the ongoing sit-in. The meetings were attended by top government and local administration officials, as well as politicians.
Sources told Dawn that one of the many proposals that came under discussion included the option of restraining Zahid Hamid from performing his duties as law minister until the finalisation of the report of a committee led by Senator Raja Zafarul Haq. However, there was no official word on the outcome of these meetings.