News Analysis |
The protestors occupying Islamabad Expressway may be softening to the government, reports suggest. Saturday night saw marathon meetings between the representatives of the protestors and a ministerial team.
The meetings were held at the residence of Senate leader of the House Raja Zafar-ul-Haq who spearheaded the negotiations. The government was represented by Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Minister of State for Religious Affairs Pir Muhammad Aminul Hasnat Shah and Islamabad Mayor Sheikh Ansar and Pir of Golra Sharif Ghulam Moinuddin, Pir Ijaz Ashrafi, Maulana Waheed Noor and Shafique Amini.
Iqbal stated that he intended to request an extension of the Sunday deadline set by the Islamabad High Court.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Ahsan Iqbal stated that the help of the ulema in solving this crisis was appreciated by the government.
However, he rejected the protestors’ demand for the resignation of Law Minister Zahid Hamid, saying that there was no solid evidence against him.
Iqbal stated that he intended to request an extension of the Sunday deadline set by the Islamabad High Court. He said the government hoped to resolve the situation amicably and with the help of the ulema.
The Interior Minister acknowledged that the sit-in had caused inconvenience to the citizens of Islamabad adding that another patient had died due to not being able to reach the hospital.
The government also faces added pressure to resolve this issue since the seventh JCC meeting of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is set to take place on Monday, 20th Nov. The political agitation in the capital would not reflect well on the government since the meeting would be attended by high profile Chinese diplomats and officials.
The capital administration and police prepared for action despite police intelligence wing’s suggestion for continuing negotiations.
On Friday, the Islamabad High Court had asked the protesters to end the sit-in and ordered the capital administration and police to remove them if they failed to obey the court order and submit a compliance report on Saturday.
Read More: Will the Islamabad sit-in end peacefully?
The capital administration and police prepared for action despite police intelligence wing’s suggestion for continuing negotiations. About 8,000 personnel of the capital police, Rangers, FC and PC are currently deployed in the Faizabad area.