Khadim Hussain Rizvi calls off Islamabad sit-in after striking deal with govt

  • Tehreek-e-Labbaik chief asks the protesters to return homes
  • Law minister Zahid Hamid steps down with 'clear conscious'

ISLAMABAD – Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the chief of Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan, on Monday formally announced calling off the Faizabad sit-in after 22 days.

The sit-in that was staged as a protest against the amendment in the Khatam e Nabuuwat clause in the recently passed Election Act 2017 came to an end hours after the Pakistani government and Tehreek-e-Labbaik struck a deal – brokered by the Army – putting an end to the escalating wave of tension across the country.

While the PML-N government appears to have given in to all the demands by the protesting side after certain assurance of not resorting to violence, the truce pact also makes the religio-political party bound to refrain from issuing any fatwa (decree) against Law Minister Zahid Hamid – the man blamed to have introduced the controversial ‘Khattam-Nabuwwat amendment’ in the Election Reforms Bill.

According to the agreement, an inquiry report prepared by Raja Zafarul Haq will be made public within 30 days and action will be taken against those responsible for the controversial amendment to the Finality of Prophethood declaration for electoral candidates.

The agreement says the arrested workers of the religious parties will have to be freed and cases against them dismissed.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Rizvi expressed that the sit-ins staged in different cities across Pakistan should also be called off as the group had inked an agreement with the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz government.
He expressed that a deadline of twelve hours was given to the government to release the detained workers adding that the chehlum (the fortieth day) of the deceased workers would be observed on January 4 at the Liaquat Bagh Rawalpindi.
‘On the assurance of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, we are calling off the sit-in,’ Khadim Hussain Rizvi told the crowd that had virtually paralysed the busy thoroughfare from over three weeks.
The move cames hours after Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid voluntarily stepped down from his position and forwarded his resignation to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

“I was not directly responsible for the introduction of the controversial amendment to the Finality of Prophethood declaration for electoral candidates,” stated Hamid in his resignation letter.

“In order to restore peace in the country, I have decided to step down from my position.”

This weekend saw deadly clashes in the federal capital and other major cities including Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad following Saturday’s crackdown by the police and paramilitary personnel on Islamabad sit-in staged by a religious group.

Protests across the country left at least six dead and over 200 others injured.