Lahore sit-in called off after 7 days; Jalali to resign from Tehreek-i-Labbaik

Dr Ashraf Asif Jalali

(Umar Farooq/Dawn)

Dr Ashraf Asif Jalali-led faction of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY), which had been holding a sit-in outside the Punjab Assembly for the past week, concluded their protest around midnight on Friday, December 1 after the government convinced them to withdraw their main demand — the resignation of Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah from his post.

The Lahore sit-in had been launched by the Jalali-led faction of the political party following reports of a police operation against the participants of the Faizabad sit-in on the morning of November 25th.

The protesters had alleged that the government had “dumped” the bodies of the party’s supporters “killed” in the Islamabad operation; demanded blood money for those affected; demanded Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah’s resignation; and demanded that the report compiled by a Raja Zafarul Haq-led commission to investigate the Elections Act 2017 controversy made public.

The sit-in was concluded after a final round of negotiations between representatives of the Punjab government and the protesters remained fruitful. Both the sides agreed to publish the report compiled by the Raja Zafarul Haq committee by December 20.

The two sides also agreed that the federal government will act upon the points mutually agreed upon between the faction and the government in Islamabad a month ago.

As per the agreement, a committee would be constituted to decide on the number of loudspeakers in each mosque in the province. The government agreed that the legislation will be made in line with the recommendations of the committee by January 16, 2018.

The two sides also agreed that the Muttahida Ulema Board, Punjab will review the educational curriculum of the province in connection with the religious views propagated through it.

Following the talks, Jalali announced he was concluding the sit-in and that he was providing the government with a “free hand” for one month.

Speaking on Sanaullah’s resignation, he said that the “court of Pir Hameeduddin Sialvi” will decide the matter. He, however, said that they are not retracting the demand for action against the minister.

Jalali announces to resign

Talking about his differences with Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the head of the other faction of TYL, Jalali announced that a “Sunni Ulema Board” has been constituted on Friday and that he is going to submit his written resignation to the board. He further said that Rizvi will also be appearing before the board to express his viewpoint.

It was not clear what prompted the decision, but Jalali said that he would “be happy if the sacrifice of his designation brings unity among the ranks of the Barelvi school of thought.”

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