Faizabad sit-in: The trail of 21 days

Published: November 27, 2017
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Members of the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan gather during a sit-in in Rawalpindi November 17, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

Members of the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan gather during a sit-in in Rawalpindi November 17, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI: The 21-day-long sit-in by religious protesters at Islamabad’s Faizabad Interchange finally came to an end on Monday.

The government was forced to accept Tehreek-e-Labbaik’s demands after a government operation to break up the sit-in went awry and sparked violent protests across the country.

Here’s a timeline to understand how it all began and came to an end:

November 6

  • The Tehreek-e-Labbaik activists start their march from Lahore towards Islamabad

November 8

  • Sit-in protest begins as religious group blocks Faizabad Interchange
  • The 2,000 protesters demand resignation of Law Minister Zahid Hamid for allegedly amending the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat clause in the Election Act 2017

November 14

  • Tehreek-e-Labbaik activists injure three cops at the Faizabad Interchange

November 16

Khatm-e-Nabuwwat clause back in its original form 

  • The National Assembly gives the nod to ‘The Election (Amendment) Elections Bill 2017’, seeking restoration of the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat [finality of Prophet-hood] clause to its original form

IHC orders religious group to end sit-in

  • The Islamabad High Court (IHC) orders the  religious group to end its sit-in on the Faizabad Intersection — the main link between the twin cities

November 19

Second deadline to call off Faizabad sit-in ends, protest continues

Govt turns to scholars to placate Faizabad protesters

  • The government convenes a grand meeting of leading clerics in an effort to find a peaceful solution to the protracted sit-in that has paralysed the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad for the last two weeks

November 20

Man ‘carrying 2kg of explosives’ held near Faizabad protest site

  • Islamabad police arrest a suspect allegedly carrying 2kg of explosive material near Faizabad Interchange

IHC irked by govt failure to execute its order to break sit-in

  • IHC issues show-cause notices to the district administration Islamabad and interior ministry officials over their failure to implement the court order to disperse the sit-in

November 21

Supreme Court takes notice of Faizabad sit-in

  • The Supreme Court of Pakistan takes notice of the sit-in

November 23

Govt can get rid of Faizabad protesters within three hours, claims interior minister

  • Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal says the government machinery is capable of clearing Islamabad’s Faizabad Interchange of religious protesters within three hours if assured against the propagation of the sensitive issue

November 24

Protesters given final warning to clear crucial intersection

  • The Islamabad administration issues a final warning to the protesters, occupying the Faizabad Interchange to clear the roads or face “strict action”

November 25

Government launches crackdown against Faizabad sit-in protest

  • Police, Frontier Corps personnel launch crackdown but retreat within hours

COAS advises PM to give peace a chance

  • Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa telephones Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and advises him to handle the Faizabad sit-in peacefully as “violence is against national interest and cohesion”

Government call out army to break up Faizabad sit-in, but military says it ‘can’t use force against our own people’

November 27

Law Minister Zahid Hamid resigns following an agreement between Tehreek-e-Labbaik and the government

Khadim Hussain Rizvi calls off Faizabad sit-in 

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