Commission gives clean chit to ex-ISI chief in Faizabad Dharna case

Blames then Punjab govt of Shehbaz Sharif for law and order situation during sit-in.

ISLAMABAD: A commission formed to probe the 2017 sit-in staged in Faizabad Islamabad by a religious group has given a clean chit to former ISI chief Gen Faiz Hamid, according to a report.

The commission was formed on the direction of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to ascertain facts and fix responsibility behind the Dharna that paralyzed life in the capital city and Rawalpindi for about 25 days. It was alleged that some state institutions including the ISI were backing the organizers of the Dharna besides providing them logistical support.

However, the commission has given a clean chit to Gen retired Faiz Hamid. In its report, the commission said that instead of stopping the participants in Lahore, the then Punjab government gave them a free hand to reach near Islamabad and stage the Dharna. 

The report said that the federal government had to seek help from the ISI to approach the organizers of the Dharna for talks. Later, an agreement was reached with the religious group and signed on November 25, 2017, with the help of the spy agency.

Shehbaz Sharif was the chief minister of Punjab at that time and no government official pointed fingers at the ISI at that time, said the commission in its report.

On the other hand, the report also said that in order to maintain its neutrality, no state institution should meddle in the political or government affairs. The report blamed the then Punjab government for the law and order situation and loss of lives during the Dharna because of its weak administration and negligence.

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