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Last Updated Sunday January 21 2018 02:23 PM IST

Pak govt gives in to demands of protesters; law minister quits

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 Pak govt gives in to demands of protesters; law minister quits

Islamabad: Pakistan's law minister Zahid Hamid has resigned after countrywide violent protests by hardline religious groups over his alleged role for changes in the oath about finality of prophethood in the recently passed elections laws, officials said on Monday.

Hamid's resignation was a key demand of the protesters who had staged sit-in in the capital for about three weeks and virtually paralyzed Islamabad.

An official of prime minister House confirmed that the law minister sent his resignation to prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Sunday night.

"The minister offered resignation to end the tension in the country," the official said.

Hamid's resignation has cleared the main hurdle in the lifting of siege of the capital by protesters who demanded his removal for changes in a law related to the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat (finality of prohpethood) oath in the Elections Act 2017.

They linked the action to blasphemy -- a highly contentious issue in the Muslim-majority Pakistan.

Hamid said in resignation that the Election Act was formulated by a parliamentary committee comprising members belonging to all political parties.

Official sources said an understanding was reached with protesters in Islamabad to call off the protest as their key demand had been accepted and the changes made in the law had already been taken back when parliament restored the original oath.

According to the agreement, government would take back all cases against protesters and make public the probe regarding the changes in the oath and also punish those who were responsible for crackdown on protesters.

The agreement lauded efforts of army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa for playing key role in peacefully ending the stand-off, which became possible after an important meeting between Bajwa and Abassi Sunday.

Read: Latest World News | 'Respect each other, help each other, Pope will tell Myanmar'

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