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Deadline extended

PROTEST CONTINUES; GOVT, PROTESTORS AGREE TO FORM COMMITTEE TO END IMPASSE 

From Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: The fourth round of talks between the government and protest leaders failed yesterday with no breakthrough in sight as the protest leaders continue to demand the resignation of Federal Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid while government defending its minister. The government’s team comprised Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, Raja Zafarul Haq, Rana Sanaullah and Captain (retired) Safdar. Minister for Interior, Ahsan Iqbal yesterday said an Ulema Dialogue Committee has been formed to resolve Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (SAW) sit-in issue through negotiations in a peaceful manner. Talking to journalists after attending a meeting with Ulema and Mashaikh, he said, the Committee, having members from all schools of thought, would be headed by Pir Hussain-ud-Din. “We all have consensus that Dharna (sit-in) issue in Federal Capital should be resolved through dialogues with protestors and amicable solution be found,” Ahsan Iqbal said and added Pakistan cannot afford this disorder any longer. Earlier the interior minister appeared before the Islamabad High Court after he was summoned by to appear in person where he took the responsibility of delay in clearing the major intersection of Faiz-abad. Iqbal on return from court made another appeal to Dharna people saying that the government is avoiding action for fear of bloodshed. He had added that the new Khatam-e-Nabuwwat laws are stronger than before. “The impression that we compromised on Khatam-e-Nabuwwat is not correct. I am hopeful that we will resolve the issue in 24-48 hours,” he said further. The government had conducted another round of negotiations on Saturday night, but that too ended in stalemate with the protesters refusing to budge from their primary demand of the law minister’s resignation. 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. Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has yesterday issued contempt of court notices to the interior secretary, chief commissioner, deputy commissioner and Islamabad inspector general, and gave a 48-hour deadline to Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal to end the Faizabad sit-in.

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