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ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Friday said the National Security Committee (NSC) has decided that the writ of the state will be established at any cost but kept the room open for dialogue with proscribed Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

Addressing a press conference after the NSC meeting, which was presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Rasheed said that meeting discussed in detail the law and order situation in the country, with specific focus on protest of the banned TLP.

He said that the NSC meeting, which continued for two hours, was attended by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Joint Chief of Staff General Nadeem Raza, including all services and intelligence chiefs, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry, and Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri.

He said that he presented report of negotiation made with the TLP before the committee.

Rasheed said that the government committee headed by him and comprised Noorul Qadri will continue dialogue with the group and we may also hold negotiations with the leadership of the TLP this evening too. “We are making utmost efforts to resolve the matter amicably,” he said, adding that during clashes four policemen had been martyred, while more than 80 had been injured, eight of them critically.

The minister said that we are standing firm on the commitment made with the group but they did not fulfill their promise regarding opening of roads.

Govt has not closed doors of negotiations with TLP: Sheikh Rashid

“If we hold negotiations with the TLP this evening, then media will be informed that if we reached any conclusion or not,” he said. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan would address the nation on Saturday or Sunday about the current security situation and will present the entire situation before the nation and his speech will explain the narrative of the government.

To a question, he said that the TLP’s social media accounts are being operated from outside the country including India, South Korea, South Africa, Hong Kong, the USA, and the UK, and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is taking action against those being handled from Pakistan. Responding to another question, he said that he had signed the agreement with the TLP after taking approval from the prime minister.

When he was asked TLP chief Saad Hussain Rizvi is in Islamabad and you are holding dialogue with him, the minister said that the negotiations were also held here as well as held in Lahore with Rizvi.

To a question that dialogue and march will continue side by side, he said that both were continuing side by side. They should stop the march and see the result of dialogue, he said, adding that being an interior minister he wants the issues resolved gracefully. He said that the whole world knows the French ambassador is not in Pakistan.

France is heading the European Union (EU) countries.

The government had taken the matter of the French ambassador’s expulsion to the parliament, but the opposition would not vote in favour of such a move, he said. Rasheed said that the TLP is coming to Islamabad for the seventh time.

“People are facing many difficulties due to TLP march; therefore, the group needs to review their stance,” he said.

He said that around 79 groups have been proscribed in the country and they are also contesting elections but whenever something happened they head towards Islamabad.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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