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Talks with banned TLP end in success, says Rasheed

Updated 24 Oct, 2021
Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed and Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noorul Haq Qadri. File Photo
Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed and Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noorul Haq Qadri. File Photo

Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed on Sunday said that the government's dialogue with the leadership of proscribed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) were "successful".

Days after staging protests in Lahore, the banned outfit, on October 21, had announced that it would start a "long march" towards Islamabad on Friday. A day earlier, Islamabad, Lahore and Rawalpindi had been partially shut down due to the protests.

“The blocked roads will now be reopened and the workers of the banned group will remain where they are till the Tuesday evening,” talking to journalists the interior minister said.

The TLP protesters will not move forward to Islamabad and will stay in Muridke till Tuesday, he added.

“Several points have been decided over the arrests and other demands of the group, which will be finalized by Tuesday,” the interior minister said.

Giving details of the government's talks with the leadership of TLP, the interior minister revealed that the government will withdraw cases registered against the activists of TLP till Wednesday.

He said under an agreement signed with the TLP earlier, the issue of expelling the French ambassador will be taken to parliament for debate.

Terming the activists of TLP as “political workers”, the minister said that the government did not want to clash with religious groups.

Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noorul Haq Qadri, meanwhile, said that the issue will be resolved through mutual understanding. He maintained that the concerned authorities have been directed that there should be no clash between the police and the protesters.

On the directives of the prime minister, Qadri had arrived in Lahore from Karachi to hold negotiations with the banned outfit’s leadership.

“The government believes to settle issues with dialogue. Protection of life and property is the foremost priority of the government,” Qadri said.

On Saturday, the government had dug up a trench on GT Road near Gujranwala in response to an announcement by TLP that they will set out on a long march towards Islamabad.

A deep and long pit was dug with the help of cranes while the roads were also blocked in advance by placing containers. Thus, all paths via road leading to and from Gujranwala were blocked.

The banned outfit had announced a "peaceful protest" on Friday after jummah prayers to demand the release of their leader Saad Rizvi.

The TLP said it would call off its protest in return for the release of Rizvi and other TLP activists from jails and the removal of the TLP chief's name from the Fourth Schedule.

On Tuesday, the banned TLP announced that it would turn its main Eid-e-Miladun Nabi rally in Lahore into a protest sit-in.

The TLP had given the government two days to fulfill the promises, saying that if the agreement reached in April was not fulfilled, the next course of action would be announced on Thursday evening. In the evening, it had announced a march on Islamabad as the government failed to fulfill its demands.

Rizvi was taken into custody in April, shortly after the federal government had declared the TLP a proscribed organisation under anti-terrorism laws and launched a broad crackdown against the party.