Lahore Mall road sit-in concludes


LAHORE: The protesters of a religious group concluded their seven-day sit-in on the city’s Mall Road late Friday after reaching an agreement with the Punjab government.

Speaking at a press conference here following the agreement, Ashraf Asif Jalali thanked the participants for staging the sit-in for seven consecutive days.

Jalali said the names of those responsible for the change in the amendment to the ‘Finality of Prophethood’ declaration for the electoral candidates in the Elections Act 2017 will be made public by December 20.

He claimed that the government has provided them with a list of protesters who were martyred, wounded, or arrested.

Jalali also said a committee will be formed with regard to the resignation of Minister for Law in Punjab Rana Sanaullah.

“If the agreement isn’t acted upon in a month’s time, then we will again take to streets,” he warned, advising his followers to stay ready and on alert.

Demonstrators persist in Lahore

A weeks-long protest at Islamabad’s Faizabad Interchange was called off earlier on Monday after Zahid Hamid voluntarily resigned as the federal minister for law and an agreement was signed between the government and protesters.

While the religious group’s leader subsequently appealed to protesters across the country to disperse, those belonging to a separate faction of the same party had refused to wrap up their sit-in at Charing Cross of Lahore’s Mall Road area.

These protesters were demanding the resignation of Sanaullah, saying they will not disperse even after demonstrations across the country ended earlier, restoring life to normalcy in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Karachi, and other cities.

The demonstrations following Faizabad operation — held in Sindh, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) — left at least one dead and dozens wounded, besides more than 200 injuries reported in Islamabad.

Bitter spat

The division in the religious group became bitterly public on November 30, causing the party to separate into two factions, the heads of which — speaking in a programme at a private media channel Wednesday night — claimed to be the real and only leaders.

Both Khadim Hussain Rizvi and Jalali denounced the party factions led by the other.

Rizvi alleged that the Jalali-led Lahore sit-in was an attempt to take credit for the successful Islamabad sit-in he had spearheaded for almost three weeks.

In response, Jalali referred to Rizvi’s demand for the entire cabinet to resign on the ground of the killings of the party workers, questioning the latter’s decision to settle only for Hamid agreeing to step down.

Jalali also levelled the accusation that one of the leaders in Khadim’s party had indulged in un-Islamic practices, to which the cleric interestingly responded that one should not raise questions on the faith of others over small matters.

Detained protesters let go

Protesters who had been detained during the Faizabad operation and the ensuing province-wide chaos were released from prisons across Punjab on Wednesday, prison sources said.

According to the sources, 458 protesters were released from eight prisons across Punjab — in Adiala, Kot Lakhpat, Sahiwal, Attock, and others jails — on the provincial government’s orders.

Shehbaz Sharif — the Chief Minister of Punjab — had ordered prisons to release all the demonstrators taken into custody during and following sit-ins over the past few days.

The protesters who had cases registered against them would only be released once due court proceedings were completed, the sources added.


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