- Information Minister says govt does not want to see bloodshed on the streets
- NSC resolves not to tolerate 'any further breach of law'
Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry said on Friday that negotiations with the banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) will take place within the ambit of the Constitution and scope of the law.
“We will not surpass our judicial system. All decisions will be made according to our judicial system,” the information minister said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad.
Talking about the government’s efforts to engage the TLP, Fawad said "we have carried out dialogue with all groups in the past, including the TTP".
However, he reiterated that the first condition of the dialogue is that all negotiations take place according to the constitution.
Fawad also said that Prime Minister Imran Khan is the only leader who has taken practical steps to tackle the issue of Islamophobia globally.
“How is it possible that you bring a group and ask that your demands be fulfilled?” he asked in reference to the TLP's leadership that has demanded the expulsion of the French ambassador from Pakistan.
“Negotiations don’t mean that whatever you say has to be fulfilled,” he stressed. “That’s not how it works. You will not get anything via confrontation.”
Fawad stressed that the entire political leadership is standing behind the country’s law enforcement agencies. “We believe that the work done by law enforcement agencies for Pakistan’s stability is commendable,” he said.
Addressing the participants of the TLP’s march, he said, “you should return home.”
“The government cannot tolerate this commotion anymore. We have limitations."
Fawad also said that Pakistan’s civil-military leadership is united and following the evolving situation with utmost seriousness.
“This [TLP’s protests] is a conspiracy against Islam. “The purpose is to divide people in the name of religion,” he said.
The information minister said that TLP’s social media is getting massive support from India. “We don’t want to see bloodshed on streets. We want to resolve issues peacefully,” he repeated.
However, it should not be considered a weakness in any way. “We are ready for any eventuality and prepared for any sacrifice,” he said.
“Our security forces are also completely ready and if the need arises, we are ready to go to any extent,” he warned.
'NSC resolves no further breach of law'
Meanwhile, the National Security Committee (NSC) resolved not to tolerate "any further breach of law" by the proscribed TLP, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in a statement.
In the meeting, the civil and military leadership were briefed about the country's internal security situation and the ongoing agitation by the banned group.
Members of the federal cabinet, National Security Advisor, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Chiefs of the three Armed Forces, DG ISI, IB, and FIA, and senior civil and military officials participated in the meeting.
"PM Imran and committee members expressed condolences at the loss of life of policemen and committed to compensating and looking after their families," the statement said.
The NSC decided that "all organs of the state stood ready to act as per the law to protect the life and property of citizens," and noted that "no previous government or prime minister had taken such an unequivocal stance on the issue of Namoos-i-Risalat and Islamophobia."
"Under the current government, Pakistan has successfully brought these issues to the fore of international diplomatic discourse in the United Nations, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and European Union, among other fora," the NSC observed.
The NSC noted that the objective behind constituting the recently established Rehmatul-lil-Aalameen Authority was to "intellectually counter international propaganda against Islam and sanctity of Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him)".
"The TLP’s violence has ended up furthering the agenda of sectarian elements and external enemies of the state," the statement added.
"The committee unanimously resolved to guard its sovereignty from all internal and external threats and not allow [the] TLP to challenge the writ of the state in any way. Participants endorsed the government’s decision to negotiate with the group only within the bounds of law, without offering leniency for any crimes committed by TLP operatives," the statement said
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that the government has not shut doors of negotiations with the banned 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."