- Interior minister, Religious Minister Noorul Haq Qadri and Punjab Law Minister Muhammad Raja Basharat to hold talks with TLP
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid is presiding over a meeting in Lahore following violent clashes between the banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and law enforcement personnel, Aaj News reported on Saturday.
On the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Religious Minister Noorul Haq Qadri arrived in Lahore from Karachi, while Rashid abandoned his two-day visit to Dubai to hold negotiations with the banned outfit's leadership.
The meeting is being held to discuss the prevailing law and order situation in Lahore. Other federal and provincial ministers are attending the meeting.
Following the meeting, the three-member government’s team, comprising Rashid, Qadri and Punjab Law Minister Muhammad Raja Basharat, is expected to hold talks with the banned TLP.
On Friday, three police personnel were martyred in clashes with demonstrators who rallied to demand the release of their leader Saad Hussain Rizvi and the expulsion of the French ambassador over blasphemous caricatures of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
The officers were hit by a vehicle as thousands of activists from the movement gathered in Lahore for a march on the capital Islamabad.
Police fired teargas after TLP supporters attacked a security checkpoint, during clashes across the city, police spokesman Arif Rana said.
Roads blocked, internet remains suspended in parts of Lahore
Meanwhile, several roads in Lahore and Islamabad remained closed on Saturday as the TLP continued its protest.
The Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) issued an alert saying that Express Chowk was closed for traffic, while Margallah Road, Ayub Chowk, Nadra Chowk and Dhokri Chowk could be used alternatively.
Meanwhile, the metro bus service remained suspended in Rawalpindi but is operational from the stop on IJP Road to the Pakistan Secretariat.
Moreover, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority suspended internet services around Multan Road, Grand Battery Stop, Iqbal Town, Nawankot, Samanabad, and Sabzazar areas of Lahore.
TLP's long march
On October 21, the TLP had announced that it will start a long march towards Islamabad on Friday. It stated that the group also had a 'Plan B' in case its members were stopped from marching on the capital.
Hundreds of TLP workers have been participating in a sit-in in Lahore to exert pressure on the Punjab government for the release of its party chief.
The TLP said that their demand for the implementation of an agreement reached between them and the government earlier this year remained unmet.