ISLAMABAD: In a late night development, talks between representatives of Kissan Ittehad and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah remained successful after which the farmers called off their protest.
The farmers were agitating against the increase in utility bills, taxes and urea price.
In a press note issued late Wednesday night, negotiations between representatives of Kissan Ittehad and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah took place at 8:30pm at the minister’s official residence.
Negotiations remained successful and the farmers’ representatives agreed to call off their protest on the condition that a meeting would be arranged between them and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on his return.
Rana Sanaullah thanked the farmers for honouring their commitment and calling off the protest. A meeting of Kissan Ittehad representatives with the prime minister will now be held on Sept 28.
Kissan Ittehad representatives to meet PM on Sept 28; Red Zone had been partially sealed
Earlier, the capital police had partially sealed the Red Zone after farmers from Punjab started reaching F-9 Park to protest against the increase in utility bills, taxes and urea price.
All entry points of the Red Zone, except Margalla Road and Khayaban-i-Suhrawardi, were sealed with containers and barbed wires, the officials said.
Besides, well-equipped contingent of police was deployed there as well as at the two open points, with directives that only officials and people who either lived in the area or worked there would be allowed to enter.
In a statement which was posted on the capital police’s official twitter account, some people reached Islamabad from Punjab which was why security at the Red Zone had been further strengthened. Besides police have been deployed at the Red Zone’s entry and exit points, it added.
The police also announced that Section 144 had been imposed in Islamabad and those who violated it would be dealt with according to law.
Farmers started reaching the federal capital from different parts of Punjab in caravans, rallies and groups and assembled at F-9 Park. Massive traffic jams were seen on roads adjacent to the park.
Officials of the capital administration and police also reached the park while police personnel were deployed in and around the park to maintain law and order.
Till the evening, the farmers’ numbers swelled over 1,500, the officials said, adding that talks were being held with them. A police official said farmers had given a deadline to the negotiators and said they would march on the Red Zone if their demands were not met.
According to a statement issued by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), the capital police intercepted the party’s vice chairman, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, when he reached F-9 Park to participate in the farmers’ protest. In another statement, the party said Mr Qureshi was surrounded by the police and was prevented from joining the protest.
“It is against fundamental rights of free protest,” Mr Qureshi said, adding that, “how many more voices will the imported government suppress”.
Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2022