ISLAMABAD: Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali on Wednesday denied making any written or verbal agreement with leaders of Islamabad’s sit-in.
Addressing a news conference, the interior minister thanked mediators to play their role to end the protest peacefully in Islamabad. But he maintained that government was prepared to launch a crackdown on demonstrators.
Nisar also announced banning all kinds of protests in Red Zone of Islamabad.
“I, as Interior Minister, have decided to put a ban on entry of political, religious and other groups at D-Chowk in Islamabad,” he said.
“Time has come to decide whether we can allow someone to announce protests against a government and then hold the state hostage,” he said.
Nisar lamented that some people taking advantage of the massive Sunday gathering, suddenly started marching towards Islamabad’s Red Zone.
“We had decided to evacuate Red Zone last night, but some respected figures from Karachi intervened and held talks,” the interior minister said.
“With the Parliament’s approval, we will make physical changes in Islamabad police to prevent such invasions in future and establish the state’s writ,” he added.
The interior minister reiterated that all those protestors, who took the law into their own hands, would be prosecuted and the rest would be freed. “In Islamabad and Rawalpindi alone, 1070 people are under arrest,” he said.
Earlier, it was reported that the negotiations between government and protesting religious parties who have staged a sit-in at D-Chowk have been successful as the latter have decided to end their sit-in and evacuate the area.
Chairman Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan Owais Noorani, while addressing the sit-in participants announced that following successful negotiations with the government team they had decided to end their sit-in and disperse peacefully.
An important press conference by Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar is due to take place at 7pm.
After the assurances from the government, the protestors have agreed to disperse peacefully.
Chairman Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan Owais Noorani stated that good news regarding the negotiations between the protestors and the government will soon be made public.
Abdul Sattar Usmani, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Islamabad, confirmed that talks were successful with the protest leaders.
A formal announcement is expected shortly.
Sarwat Ijaz Qadri, Hamid Raza and Afzal Qadri represented the protestors while Ishaq Dar and Khawaja Saad Rafique appeared on behalf of the government.
JUP leader Owais Noorani and Rafiq Pardesi mediated the talks between the government and protestors.
The leaders of the demonstrators demanded that the government release the apprehended protestors and to take back the cases against them. Sources have also indicated that the district government will be providing transportation to the protestors on their way back.
According to latest reports, Rangers have been instructed by the authorities to stay back as the chances of the use of force to evacuate the protestors from D-Chowk have diminished.
The two sides reached a seven-point agreement:
• No amendment will be made to blasphemy laws
• Those engaged in peaceful protest will be released
• The ones convicted of blasphemy will not be spared
• Fourth schedule list will be reviewed and the names of innocents will be dropped from it
• Reversal of cases against clerics will be considered and examined
• In order to prevent airing of vulgar programmes on media, ulma will consult PEMRA with relative evidences
• Religious bodies will present recommendations to Ministry of Religious Affairs pertaining to the implementation of Nizam-e-Mustafa (PBUH)