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ISLAMABAD: Following the voluntary resignation of Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid, the government and Faizabad protesters reached an agreement on Monday to end the sit-in.
Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the leader of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasoolullah made the official announcement to end the sit-in around 10:30am. He said they have been given 12 hours to move out.
He appealed to protesters across the country to disperse, adding that the Faizabad-based protesters are packing up their things and will soon vacate the sit-in site.
Rizvi also temporarily took the media hostage after he learned that his press conference was not given live coverage due to the government’s ban. However, media personnel were given safe passage after the Rangers intervened.
Earlier, despite the agreement, the protesters were present at Faizabad Interchange in Islamabad, as well as various places across the country.
The Islamabad-Lahore Motorway, along with other major road and rail links, remains closed at the moment but is expected to be reopened once the protesters disperse.
According to the agreement, the government will release, within 30 days, the report of the committee set up to probe the change in the amendment to the Finality of Prophethood declaration for electoral candidates in the Elections Act 2017. It also states that those found responsible are punished according to the relevant laws. The agreement also includes the condition that the workers of religious parties, arrested since November 6, 2017, will have to be released and cases against them dismissed.
It is also stated in the agreement that an inquiry board will be set up to probe the events surrounding the government action against protesters on November 25 and fix responsibility.
Late on Sunday, the law minister voluntarily stepped down. Hamid tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, which was accepted later today.
The protesters’ first demand was the resignation of the law minister.
The decision comes in the wake of the protests that continued across the country, following Saturday’s crackdown by the police and paramilitary personnel on the Islamabad sit-in staged by the religious party.The government tried to negotiate with the protesters while refusing the demand for the resignation of the law minister, but all the talks of negotiations were unsuccessful until Hamid tendered his resignation.
“In order to restore peace in the country, I have decided to step down from my position,” said Hamid.
Senator Raja Zafar-ul-Haq is heading the committee formed earlier by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Nawaz Sharif to fix the responsibility for the introduction of the controversial amendment to the Finality of Prophethood declaration for electoral candidates.
Besides Haq, Federal Minister for Interior Affairs Ahsan Iqbal and Minister for Climate Change Mushahidullah Khan are also part of the committee.
The committee was formed on October 7 to probe the issue as it had attracted backlash from various quarters, even though the mistake was rectified soon after the amendment was made.
The committee headed by the senator is expected to present a report related to the controversial amendment to the Islamabad High Court.