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2017 Faizabad sit-in

2017 Faizabad sit-in
Date 5 November 2017 – 26 November 2017
Location Faizabad Interchange
Caused by Changes made to the Elections Bill 2017 as to the oath required for parliamentarians in the belief of finality of prophethood of Muhammad[1]
Goals Restoration of khatm e nabuwat bill (achieved)
Resignation of Zahid Hamid (achieved)
Methods A march towards the capital which turned into sit in.
Status

Zahid Hamid resigned, Khatam-e-Nabowat law restored as it was before the amendment

an agreement was done when the military intervened on behalf of the Government of Pakistan with a term of 30 days to publish the report submitted by Raja zaffar ul Haq and to punish the masterminds behind it.
Parties to the civil conflict
Lead figures
Casualties
Death(s) 6+
Injuries 200+

Islamist political party Tehreek-e-Labaik (TLP) of Pakistan started a protest on 5 November 2017 and set up camp at the Faizabad Interchange contesting changes in the Elections Bill 2017 in which the word oath changed to declaration. The protesters demanded the resignation of Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid to "protect the identity of the country."[2][3][4] Their objective was achieved as a deal was struck with the government and the minister stepped down on 26 November 2017 culminating in an end to the peaceful protests that continued for 20 days without harm until, despite of all the warnings given out by various religious groups about the sensitivity of the matter, the government decided to use force against the protestors.[5]

Demands

They demand that the government identifies and punishes the responsible persons behind the recent change of wording in the declaration of Khatm-e-Nabuwat in election laws and the resignation of Law Minister Zahid Hamid over accusations of removing the clause.[6][7][8]

Negotiations

The negotiations didn't start until after a week of protest as the oppositions and people started to condemn governments policy of ignoring the protesters. Several bilateral talks ended in failure as the protesters were steadfast on their demand of resignation of law minister. Some of the delegations that went on behalf of government also called the demands of the protesters to be just.

Issue behind protest

According to government version it was an oversight in The Election Bill 2017 (one of the forms, on the subject relating one’s belief in the finality of prophethood of Muhammad, substituting the phrase “I solemnly swear” with “I believe”). The National Assembly of Pakistan claiming it as a “clerical error” later restored the original clause in the Election Act related to the finality of the prophethood in an oath that was turned into a religious and political controversy. However Government has failed to satisfy the protesting clerics.[9][10]

While the other side claimed that it was a delibrate attempt and if the law Minister is not responsible than inquiry should be done to bring the light the real masterminds behind this. They also claimed that if such mistake could go unnoticed from the hands of the law minister than he's no longer eligible for the job.

Spread of protests

After the government used brutal means of force on such as beat down of protesters until they were unconscious,on 25 November at approx 7 am GMT+5, raged fire through the public and by mid day most of the country was chocked by protests.Protests had spread beyond the Faizabad Interchange to most major Pakistani cities, including Islamabad[11] and Lahore.[12] Karachi, Quetta and sit-ins were staged in around 70 big cities and numerous small towns. Public life in Pakistan came to a halt.

Internet blocking and media blackouts

On 25 November 2017, the NetBlocks internet shutdown observatory and Digital Rights Foundation identified mass-scale blocking of social media and content-sharing websites YouTube, Twitter and Facebook throughout Pakistan.[13][14][15] Transmission of TV news channels were put off-air by PEMRA as a strategy of operation against sit-in protesters at Faizabad interchange, which immediately ignited as a countrywide demonstrations. Pakistan Broadcasters Association condemned the government’s unilateral shut down of news channels on 25 November 2017. However, transmission of news channels were restored by PEMRA in the afternoon of 26 November 2017 and the PTA was instructed to lift its ban over social media websites.[16][17]

Reactions

On 25 November 2017 police launched an operation using tear gas and water canons to clear the area where Tehreek-e-Labaik protesters had camped out for the last 20 days as they have blocked the main routes into the capital of Islamabad,[18] after the police, the government called the army to control the law and order situation in the federal capital (Islamabad).[19][20][21][22] The protest took place in other parts of the country, including both rural and urban areas. The government faced strong reactions by general public and a large numbers of protestors blocked the national highways throughout the country. Police was withdrawn from most of cities to avoid clashes. This crackdown also sparked outraged against the ruling party and many mob attacks took place on homes of Members of PMLN causing them to flee from their homes. Many more protesters died during clashes in Karachi and outskirts of Lahore.Sit in's were held until the leadership at Faizabad asked them to disperse after the agreement. The crowds dispersed peacefully. Head of the Moon Sighting Council Mufti Muneeb ur Rehman strongly condemned the action of the government. Pakistani politician Imran Khan called for the protests to remain peaceful, while not explicitly supporting or opposing the goals of Tehreek-e-Labaik.[23]

Controversy came about on Pakistani social media after footage leaked showing a senior Pakistani military official handling out money and encouraging the protesters. Many Pakistani news agencies and newspapers did not publish the story, possibly in fear of the influence that the military has in Pakistan.[24]

Upcoming

As the one-month deadline passed on 27 December, it is anticipated that the protest could again rise as the agreement has not been full filled. TLP has called for gathering at Liaqat Bagh Rawalpindi on 4 January for the remembrance of those who were killed in state brutality.(in Chamorro)

References

  1. ^ "Pakistan army called on to stop 'blasphemy' clashes in Islamabad". BBC News. 25 November 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2017. 
  2. ^ "Pasroor: Law Minister Zahid Hamid's house attacked". www.thenews.com.pk. 
  3. ^ "Religious activists attack Law Minister Zahid Hamid's house, injure PML-N MNA Javed Latif". www.pakistantoday.com.pk. 
  4. ^ "Enraged-protestors-attack-residence-of-Law-Minister-Zahid-Hamid". dunyanews.tv. 
  5. ^ Rasmussen, Nosheen Abbas Sune Engel (2017-11-27). "Pakistani law minister quits after weeks of anti-blasphemy protests". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-11-29. 
  6. ^ "Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (SAW) protest continue". timesofislamabad.com. 
  7. ^ "Govt tells NA: No change in oath avowing Khatm-e-Nabuwwat". tribune.com.pk. 
  8. ^ "Pakistan army called on to stop 'blasphemy' clashes in Islamabad". www.bbc.com. 
  9. ^ Professor D. Suba Chandran (17 November 2017). "The TLY paralyses Islamabad and Rawalpindi: Rise of the Right, or the use of it?". Pakistan Reader. Retrieved 26 November 2017. 
  10. ^ Zahid Hussain (15 November 2017). "The capital under siege". Dawn. Retrieved 26 November 2017. 
  11. ^ Sarfraz Ali (26 November 2017). "Islamabad protests: Schools, colleges in Punjab to remain closed on Monday and Tuesday". Daily Pakistan. Retrieved 26 November 2017. 
  12. ^ Dawood Rehman (25 November 2017). "Punjab calls in Rangers as religious protesters 'invade' Lahore". Daily Pakistan. Retrieved 26 November 2017. 
  13. ^ "DRF and NetBlocks find blanket and nation-wide ban on social media in Pakistan and demand it to be lifted immediately". Digital Rights Foundation. 2017-11-26. Retrieved 2017-11-29. 
  14. ^ "Activists assail blanket ban on social media". The Nation. Retrieved 2017-11-29. 
  15. ^ "All you need to know about nation-wide internet disruptions during dharna". www.samaa.tv. Retrieved 2017-11-29. 
  16. ^ Web Desk (26 November 2017). "PBA strongly condemns closure of news channels". Dunya News tv. Retrieved 27 November 2017. 
  17. ^ "Policeman killed and hundreds injured when security forces disperse Islamist protest in Islamabad". Daily Mail Co UK. 25 November 2017. Retrieved 27 November 2017. 
  18. ^ "Islamist Protest Spreads as Pakistan Tries to End It". www.voanews.com. 
  19. ^ "Pakistan government calls in army after police, Islamists clash". in.reuters.com. 
  20. ^ "Pakistan Calls On Army to Help Restore Order After Violent Clashes in Islamabad". www.nytimes.com. 
  21. ^ "Army called in to restore peace after cop martyred, over 200 hurt in Islamabad clashes". www.thenews.com.pk. 
  22. ^ "Pakistan calls in army to end anti-blasphemy protests". www.aljazeera.com. 
  23. ^ Sarfraz Ali (25 November 2017). "Islamabad sit-in: Imran Khan requests protesters to remain peaceful". Daily Pakistan. Retrieved 26 November 2017. 
  24. ^ M Ilyas Khan (28 November 2017). "Why was Pakistan general giving money to protesters?". BBC News. Retrieved 29 November 2017. 

External links