SC takes notice of Faizabad protest

Protesters rest ready to pelt stones at police

The Supreme Court on Tuesday took notice of the sit-in that has paralysed the capital city for a fortnight.

The court was alerted to the gravity when a lawyer told Justice Qazi Faez Isa that he could not prepare for the case because the capital had been held captive by the religious groups.

The apex court sought a detailed report about the sit-in from Secretary Defence and Secretary Interior. The IHC in a hearing last week had said that any citizen who wishes to exercise their right to freedom of speech must not cause inconvenience to other citizens.

Taking notice of the issue, SC has summoned Inspector General Punjab, Inspector General Islamabad and Attorney General of Pakistan on Thursday, November 23.

Earlier, the government has constituted Ulema Dialogue Committee to persuade the protesters to end the sit-in issue amicably. The top court's intervention after the Islamabad High Court's orders to evict the protesters has further increased pressure on the government.

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A meeting of the clerics and scholars, which was also attended by Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Mohammad Yousuf, resolved to end the protest in a peaceful manner.

Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah has been protesting for more than a week, demanding action against those involved in making an amendment to the clause pertaining to the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat oath for electoral candidates and the sacking of Law Minister Zahid Hamid.

He said since the court orders were with reference to the applicability and enforcement of law, therefore all endeavors had been made to implement the same, but since the issue was very sensitive and there was a genuine apprehension that the protesters might resist their eviction using arms, therefore, efforts had been made time and again to talk out the issue, but unfortunately no effort proved fruitful.

Talking to press after court proceedings, Iqbal asserted that the government would not take action on whims of some conspirators, as he said, the court has been asked to grant 48-hours of time to tackle the issue peacefully.

He said there is no legal justification of protest after a bill passed unanimously by both houses of the parliament concerning the finality of Prophethood (Khatm-e-Nabuwwat).

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