Tensions rise at Islamabad protest, four security personnel injured

At least four security personnel were injured on Wednesday when the protesters staging a sit-in at the Faizabad Interchange resorted to pelting stones at security forces deployed in the area. As a result of the skirmish, four FC and police personnel, including SP Saddar Amir Niazi, were injured.
Police and FC personnel deployed in the area have been put on alert and extra reinforcements, including armoured personnel carriers, have been summoned to the area and deployed at IJP road.
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The protesters, belonging to a religious group, have continued their sit-in for the 17th consecutive day, blocking Faizabad Interchange despite a notice by the Supreme Court.
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The protest has resulted in severe issues for residents of the capital and Rawalpindi who face traffic jams and mobility issues on a daily basis. At least two casualties due to ambulances being unable to cross the protesters have also been reported.
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The Supreme Court took notice of the sit-in on Tuesday and sought replies from the relevant government quarters.
The apex court has sought a detailed report on what measures were taken by the government to safeguard the rights of the public and adjourned the hearing until Thursday.
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In his remarks, Justice Qazi Faez Isa asked which Shariah (Islamic law) permits obstruction of people’s routes and use of foul language.
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Talks between the government and protesters on Saturday and then on Monday failed with no breakthrough in sight as protest leaders continue to demand the resignation of Federal Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid.
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The government, however, has formed another committee under senior cleric Pir Haseenuddin Shah for negotiations with the protesters and to suggest a comprehensive solution to the problem.
On Tuesday, Shah asked the government for more authority so he could make decisions independently.
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Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal meanwhile has emphasised on a peaceful solution through talks while stressing that “all options are available” to disperse the sit-in.
Following a meeting of government representatives and protest leaders on Monday, Iqbal again expressed hope for a peaceful resolution of the issue.
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“We all agree that this issue should be resolved as soon as possible in a peaceful manner. Pakistan cannot be affected by any kind of bloodletting,’ said the interior minister.
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The meeting, after its conclusion also issued a joint statement, which stated that there is absolutely no room for error in the Khatam-e-Nabuwat clause and a committee, formed with PML-N leader Raja Zafar-ul-Haq in the chair, will identify those responsible for the mistake and the change in the oath.