Ashan Iqbal spills the beans on Gen Faiz's role in Faizabad sit-in deal

Former minister says Gen Faiz told him that TLP would not honour agreement unless he became a guarantor

Web Desk
Tuesday, October 03, 2023
Former planning and development minister Ahsan Iqbal. — APP/File

KARACHI: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader and former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal has revealed that Lt Gen (retired) Faiz Hameed had insisted on becoming a signatory to the Faizabad sit-in agreement signed with the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in 2017.

Speaking on Geo News programme ‘Capital Talk’ hosted by Hamid Mir on Monday, Iqbal said both he and the then prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi were not in favour of a senior army officer becoming a signatory to that agreement.

However, he said, Gen Faiz insisted that the protesting TLP wouldn’t accept the accord if he didn’t become part of it as guarantor.

The former interior minister said he had been in contact with the then PM Abbasi when the accord was being finalised. “When I read out the contents of the agreement to the prime minister, he also suggested that it would be better that General Sahib didn’t sign it,” said Iqbal.

“I also conveyed to General Sahib that it wouldn’t be good for him and his institution to sign the agreement given its political nature.”

Iqbal said that Gen Faiz had told him that the other party (the TLP) would not honour the agreement unless he became a guarantor of the accord.

Last week, former PM Abbasi described the Faizabad protest sit-in as the “darkest chapter” in the history of Pakistan, saying that action against those responsible should be taken only if there is evidence and a complaint is filed against them.

Speaking on Geo News programme ‘Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath’, the PML-N senior leader advised the party to lodge a formal complaint against former army generals, including Gen Faiz, provided that the party was serious about pursuing the matter, “instead of delivering speeches and making statements against them”.

The PML-N leaders' statement came as Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa last month took up Faizabad sit-in review petitions after a hiatus of four years.

A day earlier, the apex court issued a detailed order of September 26 hearing wherein CJP Isa provided another fresh opportunity for all parties to submit affidavits regarding 20-day sit-in staged by the TLP against the then PML-N-led government in twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

The order said any party or anyone can file anything related to the matter by or before Oct 27.

The next hearing is scheduled for Nov 1.