Islamabad sit-in continues as negotiations fail to break deadlock

Commuters in the twin cities continue to face hardship as the protest sit-in at Faizabad Interchange, linking the main Islamabad- Rawalpindi route, by religious parties enters its fifteenth day today.
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has called an emergency meeting of religious scholars belonging to all schools of thought over the ongoing protest.
The consultative meeting, to be held today, is the latest effort on behalf of the government to bring the protest to a peaceful end.
Read more: Islamabad protesters doing propaganda to incite people: interior minister
Iqbal, Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Raja Zafarul Haq and State Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Aminul Hasnaat have previously met a number of protest leaders in view of reaching a breakthrough to end the sit-in.
The interior minister in his press conference on Sunday said that all options are available for dispersing the Islamabad protest, adding that a security operation is the last option as the government will try to avoid bloodshed.
Addressing the media alongside State Minister for Religious Affairs, Iqbal had said the government will go “to any extent” to resolve the issue, including a security operation, adding that protesters blocking the Faizabad Interchange are engaging in a propaganda to incite emotions of the people.
“Our forces have the capability to clear the area but we are keeping the operation as the last option. This is not a sign of weakness but we are doing this out of respect [for the matter of finality of Prophethood].”
The protest has nothing to do with religion or religious demands and “such organisations” take these steps to advance ahead of elections, he said.
“The protesters demand that Law Minister Zahid Hamid should step down; however, there is no proof that he is responsible for the mistake. A committee has been formed in this regard which will probe the matter so there is no justification for the protest,” he said.