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Tuesday Mar 29, 2016

Three-member committee to negotiate with Qadri supporters

Three-member committee to negotiate with Qadri supporters

ISLAMABAD: A three-member committee from the government will hold talks with supporters of Mumtaz Qadri who have staged a sit-in outside the parliament house for the third day in a row.

The committee includes Raja Zafar ul Haq, Ayaz Sadiq and Zaeem Qadri. If the negotiations are unsuccessful the government will take a final decision over the protesters today.

Thousands of supporters of Mumtaz Qadri, who shot dead Punjab Governor Salman Taseer in 2011, have held the capital under siege, ransacking public property as they clash with the police and army officials.

Absence of public toilets in the area is letting off a foul smell, as protesters defecate in the open. Firemen have still not been able to extinguish fire on a container at Parade Ground set ablaze by the protesters on Monday.

The Rawalpindi-Islamabad metro bus has been shut down for a fourth day in a row. All embassies at the diplomatic enclave have been closed. Citizens have been asked to avoid traveling to the Red Zone.

Mobile phone services in the capital have been blocked.

The government had on Monday registered an FIR against Sarwat Qadri, Khadim Hussain, Afzal Qadri and Dr Ashraf.

The cases have been registered at the I-9, Secretariat and Kohsar police stations. Charges against them include violating the Loud Speaker Act, vandalizing public property, instigating hate against the government and violating section 144 at the Red Zone.

On Sunday, the protesters, a month after Qadri was hanged for shooting dead Punjab governor Salman Taseer, prayed for him in Rawalpindi, and then marched towards Islamabad’s Red Zone, breaking barriers erected at Faizabad on the way.

Police and Rangers threw tear gas shells on the protesters in a bid to contain them. At least 42 security officials and 16 citizens were injured in the clashes which followed.

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