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Pakistan

Government to hold third round of negotiations with banned TLP tonight in an effort to restore normalcy

  • “We held negotiations [with the protesters] yesterday, in the morning and the third session will be held tonight after the Tarawih prayer.” federal Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noorul Haq Qadri said on Monday.
  • TLP has released 11 policemen including a deputy superintendent of police who was taken hostage during Sunday's deadly clashes in Lahore.
Updated 19 Apr 2021

The government is scheduled to hold a third round of talks with the now-banned, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) tonight in an effort to end week-long protests.

“We believe in negotiations and it’s our policy,” Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noorul Haq Qadri said on Monday.

“We held negotiations [with the protesters] yesterday, in the morning and the third session will be held tonight after the Tarawih prayer.”

“No political, democratic and elected government can afford such things and whatever happened in the past few days is regrettable to everyone,” he said.

After the policemen's release, the government allowed a TLP delegation to meet TLP's party’s chief Rizvi in jail today.

“A nine-member delegation of the religious scholars will go to Kot lakhpat jail to meet the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan chief Saad Hussain Rizvi,” Pir Ejaz Ashrafi, who is TLP spokesperson told Arab News.

On Sunday, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid announced that Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) had released the 11 policemen it had taken hostage in Lahore.

On Sunday, Special Assistant to the Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Information Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan said 'attackers' had kidnapped 12 police officials, including a deputy superintendent of police (DSP), and taken them to their head office. She added that these attackers were laced with heavy weapons attacked police and Rangers with petrol bombs and acid.

"Today in the early morning, miscreants attacked Nawankot Police Station where Rangers and police officers were trapped inside the police station and DSP Nawankot was kidnapped and taken in the Markaz,” the Punjab police later said in a statement.

In the early hours of Monday, the interior minister posted a video message on his Twitter handle and announced that the policemen have been released after the first round of talks with TLP.

"The second round of negotiations will begin after sehri. We hope that the second meeting will also prove fruitful and matters will be resolved amicably with the TLP," the minister said.

On Thursday, the government banned the TLP, declaring it as a proscribed organization. The National Counter Terrorism Authority also added the TLP to the list of banned terrorist organizations.

For the past few days, TLP supporters have taken to the streets across the country against the arrest of Rizvi. The protests turned violent after supporters clashed with law enforcement agencies resulting in the death of four people.

The federal cabinet decided to deploy Rangers across the country during Ramazan to maintain law and order.