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ISLAMABAD: Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed on Wednesday said the government has decided to impose ban on Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), whose activists have been staging violent protests across the country after the arrest of their chief.

Speaking at a news conference, he said the decision to ban TLP was taken after summary was moved by the Punjab government. “The summary seeking ban on TLP will be forwarded to the federal cabinet for final approval today," he said.

The announcement came hours after law enforcement agencies cleared the major roads across the country after clashes among TLP activists and police, mostly in Punjab.

The protests across the country started after arrest of TLP chief Saad Hussain Rizvi.

He said that the decision to impose ban on TLP was not taken due to political situation but because of the violent role of TLP.

“I never supported TLP nor met former TLP chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi and Saad Rizvi,” he said.

The minister said the government has made efforts to convince TLP on a resolution to be passed from parliament but our efforts were failed.

We want to table a resolution regarding Namoos-e-Risalat in the National Assembly with consensus but they (the TLP) insisted on coming to Faizabad and Islamabad at any cost, he said, adding that as far as the matter of Khatam-e-Nabuwat is concerned, I am ready to give my life [for it].

"Government wanted a resolution that exalts the flag of holy Prophet (PBUH), but what you are demanding gives an impression of us being an extremist-minded state to the world," he said.

He said the TLP had made preparations for their protest, which were effectively countered by police.

Rasheed said the protesters stopped ambulances from reaching their destination by blocking roads and disrupted the supply of oxygen to hospitals for Covid-19 patients.

Being politicians we never asked workers to drag police officers off motorcycles or attack the law enforcement agencies personnel, he said.

“If there ever were any arrests warrants issued against me, or any other politician, we abide by them," he said.

He said the police and Rangers have cleared GT road and motorways.

Two police personnel were killed and 340 personnel were injured during the protests, he said, adding that strict action will be taken against those who issued instructions through social media for blocking of roads. The TLP had been demanding the expulsion of the French ambassador over the publication of blasphemous caricatures. In November last year, the party staged a sit-in in Rawalpindi, which ended after an agreement with the government. Earlier, presiding over meeting to review the law and order situation, he directed law enforcement agencies to ensure the writ of the state at all costs. The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab, IGP Islamabad, and representatives of Rangers and other law enforcement agencies.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021