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Commuters in Islamabad continued to face hardship due to protesters

ISLAMABAD (Monitoring Desk): Commuters in the twin cities continued to face hardship as protesters blocked the Faizabad Interchange for the tenth day.

The protesters, activists and supporters of religious parties, want the government to punish those responsible for changing the wording of the oath regarding the finality of Prophet-hood taken by lawmakers.

Minister of State for Capital Administration and Development Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry said that government has nominated a team under Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Raja Zafarul Haq to negotiate with the sit-in protestors.

The government had immediately fixed the ‘clerical error’ by passing another amendment.

As a result of the protests, containers have been placed by the authorities to block roads and mobile phone signals have also been shut down around the protest site. Suspension of mobile phone signals has further inconvenienced the citizenry living around the area or passing through it.

The ongoing sit-in has effectively chocked the roads connecting Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

As a result of the continued sit-in, the Metro Bus Services which plies between the two cities and serves major commercial areas has also been partially suspended due to security reasons. The partial suspension has caused further problems for commuters, of whom around 120,000 people use the service daily.

Most affected by the ongoing sit-in are students of various schools and colleges, for whom commutes to their educational institutes now take hours instead of minutes.

Commuters in the twin cities have had to search for alternate routes to reach their destinations and often have had to bear hours-long traffic jams.

Traffic authorities in Islamabad and Rawalpindi have diverted commuter traffic travelling between the two cities to alternate routes. Those commuting between Islamabad and Rawalpindi have been advised to use Peshawar road, Murree road, 9th Avenue and other routes.

The government has yet to take measures to either negotiate with the protestors or remove them.

Earlier today, Federal Minister of Religious Affairs Sardar Mohammad Yousaf reiterated that the government firmly believes in the finality of Prophethood.

“All Muslims are firm believers in the finality of Prophethood, and we have no ambiguity over the clause,” Yousaf stressed.

“I request the protesters to end their demonstration because the government has taken notice of their reservations,” he said, adding that if anyone has any doubts, they should discuss and clear them with the religious affairs ministry.