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Tehreek-e-Labbaik Protesters Shut Down Karachi After Twin Cities

Karachi (November 18, 2017): The Tehreek-e-Labbaik, a religious group that has blocked the federal capital’s Faizabad Interchange for the last two weeks, also shut down Karachi’s Numaish Chowrangi on Saturday, causing massive gridlocks on the city’s major roads.

The protest has been under way for several hours, blocking to access to MA Jinnah Road.

The blockade has caused traffic jams in Saddar and Gurumandir and other surrounding areas. Commuters are stuck in traffic on major thoroughfares of the city including MA Jinnah Road, Shahrah-e-Quaideen, Khalid bin Walid Road, Tariq Road and Kashmir Road.

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Earlier, administration of the twin cities delayed the decision to use force against protesters belonging to Sunni Tehreek and Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah  after fourth round of talks ended at residence of Raja Zafarul Haq.

Protesting bodies represented by Dr Shafiq Ameeni, Sheikh Azhar and Pir Ijaz Sherani convened the fourth round of talks at Raja Zafarul Haq’s residence with the government and returned to the protesting site.

Interior minister Ahsan Iqbal and Islamabad Mayor Sheikh Ansar among others represented the delegation of the government while a cleric from Golara Sharif Ghulamulddin Jami mediated the talks.

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Seemingly, the fourth round of talks failed after the deadline to end the sit-in protest was extended by the government earlier today by 24 hours. The ultimatum granted by Islamabad High Court (IHC) to end the protest expired last night at 10:00pm.

However, the government extended its deadline by another 24 hours.

The protesting bodies have vowed to continue the sit-in protest until law minister Zahid Hamid tenders his resignation for a ‘clerical mistake’ in amendment that was brought to Elections Act 2017.

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In the then revised form-A of nomination papers, the words “I solemnly swear” were replaced with “I believe” and the clause relating to Khatm-i-Naboowat was made applicable to non-Muslim candidates.

However, the change was branded a clerical mistake by National Assembly speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and the government had vowed immediate rectification of the alleged mistake.

Around 2,000 protesters at the Faizabad Interchange in Islamabad are demanding the resignation of Law Minister Zahid Hamid over a hastily-abandoned amendment to the Prophet-hood Declaration Clause in the Electoral Reforms Bill 2017.

The Islamabad administration told the protesters on Friday to end their sit-in by 10am on Saturday otherwise a joint operation by Rangers, Frontier Constabulary and police would be carried out to disperse them.Mufti Muneeb warns govt against cracking down on Faizabad protesters

However, after the deadline expired earlier today, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal postponed the operation by another 24 hours. In a bid to persuade the protesters to end their sit-in peacefully, Iqbal also appealed to religious leaders to help the government resolve the issue.

A government team started negotiations with the protesters at the residence of Senatar Zafarul Haq on Saturday.

The Election (Amendment) Elections Bill 2017 was passed both by the National Assembly and Senate, bringing the Khatm-e-Nabuwat clause back to its original form.

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