Faizabad protesters doing propaganda to incite people: Ahsan Iqbal

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Ahsan Iqbal

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Sunday that protesters blocking the Faizabad Interchange in the capital are doing propaganda to incite the emotions of people.
Addressing the media alongside State Minister for Religious Affairs Amin Hasnat Shah, Iqbal said that the protest has nothing to do with religion or religious demands and “such organisations” take these steps to advance ahead of elections.
The interior minister, however, began his address by reiterating that the government firmly believes in the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat (finality of Prophethood) law.
“It is settled forever [for Pakistan] that a person who doesn’t believe in finality of Prophethood has no right to call himself Muslim. All political parties unanimously passed the law in this regard. There is no justification now for the protest to continue,” he said.
The minister, along with others, has been engaged in negotiations with the protesters, who have occupied the key Faizabad Interchange of the capital for nearly two weeks, but failed to reach a breakthrough.
However, addressing the media later Saturday night after hectic rounds of negotiations, Iqbal said he was hopeful of resolving the matter in a day.
The religious parties have been protesting against the change in the finality of Prophethood oath in the law when the government passed the Elections Act 2017 last month. The change, dubbed a clerical error by the government, was immediately fixed as an amendment was passed later.
However, the protesters have demanded that Law Minister Zahid Hamid, who introduced the bill, resign. They also want responsibility fixed on other officials involved in the incident.
The protest has disrupted life in the capital and Rawalpindi, causing inconvenience as well as at least two reported casualties due to ambulances being unable to cross the protesters.
The Islamabad High Court had given the government until 10am November 18 to remove the protesters ‘with force if need be’ but the government did not do so and instead opted for negotiations to find a peaceful way out.
According to sources on Saturday night, the protesters have refused to budge from their demand for the law minister’s resignation, saying they will engage in talks once Hamid has been sacked.
However, Iqbal said on Saturday the law minister will not be sacked until his guilt is proven.

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