Punjab Rangers DG given responsibility to end Faizabad sit-in
ISLAMABAD (92 News) – The embattled government on Sunday assigned paramilitary rangers to “handle” the protesters who have besieged the capital Islamabad for three weeks after the country’s powerful army chief advised the government not to deploy the army against the protesters.
The Interior Minister through a notification, given Maj Gen Azhar Naveed Hayat, head of the rangers in the northeastern Punjab province, responsibility to lead the operation to “handle” and “clear” the sit-in, which has virtually cut off the capital from rest of the country since early November.
The rangers head had been assigned the task to “negotiate” with the protesters, and clear the sit-in organized by Tehrik Labbaik Ya Rasoolallah – a newly formed group which represents the Sunni-Barelvi school of thought.
Army forces will, however, remain as a back-up in case of any emergency situation, the channel reported.
Earlier, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa had decided to engage the protesters in negotiations, discarding use of force to disperse them.
COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa asked the prime minister to identify those inciting violence and punish them. They decided to engage religious parties and scholars to find a peaceful solution of the sit-in and take the military leadership into confidence over the issue.
He said that how could the armed force become a part of the operation as the people of the country love armed forces. “The violence in the country will damage our image in the world,” he added.
The COAS said the armed forces cannot use force against its own people, the army will act according to the law and Constitution of the country.
Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa also expressed concern over restrictions placed on TV news channels and suggested that the prohibition must be removed.