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Former Law Minister Zahid Hamid Reveals ISI’s Involvement in Faizabad Sit-in, Recounts Pressure to Resign

Zahid Hamid, former federal law minister, disclosed that during the Faizabad sit-in, he was approached by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) director general Lieutenant General (retd) Faiz Hamid, who urged him to resign from his ministerial position.

Detailing the events, Zahid recounted that junior officers from ISI Lahore visited his residence on November 26, 2017, to solicit his resignation.

His account was documented in the report of the Faizabad Sit-in Commission, formed on the directives of the Supreme Court to investigate the 2017 sit-in protest at Faizabad spearheaded by former Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi.

Zahid elaborated that he had two meetings with ISI officials during the sit-in. The first encounter involved two unidentified individuals at the Law Ministry, likely of colonel-level rank, who inquired about his plans. He informed them of his adherence to the directives of then-prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and his party leadership, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

The second meeting occurred with ISI’s counterintelligence wing head at the time, Major General Faiz Hamid. During this encounter, Faiz suggested Zahid consider a temporary resignation to defuse the crisis, speculating that such a move might appease the TLP protesters.

Zahid had already offered his resignation to the prime minister, which was declined. Despite this, pressure mounted, leading the prime minister to reluctantly accept Zahid’s resignation, as relayed by then-chief minister of Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif.

On the night of November 26, 2017, Zahid received a visit from junior ISI officers at his Lahore residence, urging him to announce his resignation to clear the Faizabad Interchange for traffic the next morning.

Upon consultation with the Punjab chief minister, Zahid agreed to release news of his resignation before formally submitting it to the premier.

As events unfolded, Zahid realized the need for intervention after the failure of police action during the sit-in. He also recounted a meeting arranged between PML-N leaders and a TLP delegation during the protest, where baseless accusations regarding his faith were addressed, leading to a resolution between the parties.

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