- Interior minister says writ of the state will be established at all costs
- PM will address the nation on Saturday or Sunday: Rashid
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that the government has not shut doors of negotiations with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TLP) and wants to resolve matters amicably.
Addressing media after the meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) in Islamabad on Friday, Rashid added that the writ of the state will be established at all costs.
"It is our priority to settle the issue in an amicable manner. It is the responsibility of the state to protect the lives and property of the citizens."
He pointed out that the Punjab Police has been placed under the jurisdiction of the Rangers under Article 147 to maintain law and order in the province.
"There has been no headway in the talks and there is a possibility of holding negotiations with the TLP later today."
Rashid said it is expected that Prime Minister Imran Khan will address the nation on Saturday or Sunday.
To a question, he said that WhatsApp groups of the banned TLP are being operated from India, Hong Kong, South Africa, and other countries.
Top civil, military huddle attend NSC meeting
The NSC meeting, which continued for two hours, was held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Imran Khan to review the law and order situation in the country. The meeting focused on the situation arising out of the protests by the TLP.
Top civil and military leadership, including Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and DG ISI attended the meeting. Federal ministers including Rashid, Pervez Khattak, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and Fawad Chaudhry were also present.
Earlier, it was reported that negotiations between the government and TLP have so far failed to yield any result. Rashid and Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri represented the government.
The TLP demanded the release of its chief Saad Rizvi from imprisonment, withdrawal of cases against the party workers, and presenting a resolution against France in parliament.
However, the government had stated that the cases of TLP workers will be decided by the court. It also asked the banned outfit to withdraw from the GT Road and other main highways before the release of the TLP chief from jail.
'TLP no more a political party'
On Wednesday, Fawad Chaudhry said that the TLP will not be dealt as a political party. The cabinet decided to treat TLP as a militant organisation, adding that no one could challenge the writ of the state.
Deadly clashes between police and TLP
At least four police officials were martyred while several suffered injuries when TLP workers clashed with the police near Muridke and Sadhuke on Wednesday.
The fierce clashes broke out after the TLP tried to resume its march on Islamabad to pressurise the government to accept its demands.
Inspector General of Punjab Police Rao Sardar said the charged mob of the proscribed organisation martyred four police officials and injured 263 others.
He claimed that the TLP activists were armed with automatic weapons and shot straight at the police. The IGP added that the use of arms against the law-enforcement agencies by the banned outfit is a matter of serious concern.
Following the April clashes in which TLP activists blocked highways, railways, and access routes to cities and battled police, the authorities arrested their leader, Saad Hussain Rizvi, and banned the TLP.
Authorities had been trying to negotiate with the TLP, which rallied its supporters outside its Lahore headquarters, but negotiations broke down and the TLP called on supporters from around Pakistan to converge on the capital Islamabad.
The main arteries to and from Lahore and Islamabad were blocked with shipping containers to prevent demonstrators from entering the city. The diplomatic enclave in Islamabad, where most foreign embassies are located, was also blocked off.