Operation against Islamabad sit-in commences

Authorities — including police, a heavy contingent of FC, and Rangers — commenced early Saturday morning an operation against the protestors at the city’s Faizabad Interchange, almost an hour after arriving at the scene.
The operation started after over seven hours following a midnight deadline set by the district administration expired.
Commenting on the forthcoming developments, Asmatullah Junejo — the assistant inspector-general (AIG) for police who is currently at the scene — said the authorities “will conduct an operation against the protestors [in the sit-in] today, Inshallah! (God be willing)”.
Security officials and law enforcement agencies have evacuated Faizabad ahead of the impending operation, Junejo explained.
Markets and bus stops in Faizabad and its surrounding areas are completely empty, while police have banned entry for all unrelated persons.
They added that a drone has also been spotted in the vicinity.
“We will clear the [Faizabad] area today in line with the court’s orders,” Junejo said, adding that they “will try our best to make there is no fatality”.
Jami requests extension
As the midnight deadline given by the district administration expired, the protesters belonging to a religious party remained camped at the Faizabad Interchange, continuing their stranglehold over the vital transport junction.
According to sources, Pir Nizamuddin Jami has contacted a government official and requested an extension of the deadline and expressed hope that the issue can be resolved through mutual understanding.
Meanwhile, the interior ministry disclosed that four CCTV cameras that were monitoring the demonstration had their wires cut. The interior minister has taken notice and asked for a report on the matter.
Final warning
Earlier today, the district administration of the federal capital issued a final warning to protesters of a religious party, camped at Faizabad Interchange, and told them to disperse by midnight, threatening to take action of the order was not followed.
The warning was issued in a notification issued by the district magistrate.
The order by the district administration came after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday ordered to shift the protesters to the Parade Ground within a span of three days.
The district administration had stated that the protesters have been camping at the critical junction illegally and the protesters have been issued a three-day warning previously too, hence, the protesters should vacate Faizabad Interchange by midnight Friday.
If an operation is conducted to clear the interchange, then the responsibility will fall on the leadership and the participants of the protest, the administration added.
The Supreme Court on Thursday said that when the writ of the state ends, decisions are made on the streets.
State on one page
The bench — comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mushir Alam — also expressed its displeasure at the unrelenting situation and noted that the residents of Islamabad and Rawalpindi were facing serious problems as a result of the sit-in.
The apex court bench added that the sit-in is all about the ego of one man and his quest for fame.
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal also stated that the state is on one page regarding sit-in and the government is still trying to resolve the issue through peaceful means.
Demonstrators resort to pelting
The Army said on Wednesday that it would act upon whatever decision the government makes on the ongoing sit-in in Islamabad.
General Ghafoor, however, said it is better to diffuse the situation through mutual understanding, adding that whatever decision the government makes in this regard would be acted upon.
Also on Wednesday, at least four security personnel were injured when the protesters resorted to pelting stones at security forces deployed in the area.
Four FC and police personnel, including SP Saddar Amir Niazi, were injured as a result.
Difficulties for residents
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.
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.
The protests are being held against the change in the finality of Prophethood oath in the law when the government passed the Elections Act 2017 last month. The change, dubbed a clerical error by the government, was immediately fixed as an amendment was passed later.