- A steering committee has been formed to oversee the implementation of the deal
The banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) has agreed to withdraw its demand of the French ambassador’s expulsion from Pakistan after successful negotiations with the government, reported Aaj News on Sunday.
As per the agreement, the government will withdraw its earlier decision of declaring the group a proscribed outfit and allow it to participate in politics.
Earlier today, former Ruet-i-Hilal Committee chairman Mufti Muneebur Rehman announced that negotiations between the government and TLP had been successful.
Addressing a press conference along with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, and leaders of the TLP Shura in Islamabad, Muneeb said that the details of the agreement will be made public soon.
He said a steering committee has been formed which will oversee the implementation of the pact. "Ali Muhammad Khan will head the committee," he said. "The agreement was reached after sense prevailed over aggression. Rationality prevailed over sentiments, and all the participants demonstrated patience," he said.
"I want to urge the entire nation that this is not the victory of any individual, but it is the victory of Islam, patriotism, and protection of human lives."
"I want to tell the nation that these dialogues were not held under any duress. They were held in a serious, responsible, and independent environment, [in which] everyone made their contribution. Everyone deserves to be thanked for it," he said.
"The participants of the agreement entered the accord in the best interest of the country and its people. This agreement was reached before any untoward incident. This is the news for the entire nation, and the national media should portray it in a positive manner."
"I am thankful to the prime minister for empowering the committee and trusting it, and also to the committee for working dedicatedly to resolve this matter," he said. "Similarly, the TLP demonstrated the same behaviour."
"The agreement was also backed by TLP chief Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi," Muneeb added.
Muneeb said that a committee had been formed to oversee the whole issue. "State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan will be its head, while Law Minister Punjab Raja Basharat will be a member of the committee," he said.
Issues should be resolved through dialogue: PM
On Saturday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he believed in resolving issues through dialogue, but will not allow anyone to challenge the writ of the state.
On the issue of the French ambassador, he said that the expulsion of any diplomat will not help the cause, but will instigate hatred toward Muslims and Islam.
Khan stressed that the current situation was hurting Pakistan's identity, while the TLP leadership was making unrealistic demands, solely for political gains.
Khan said that he did not want bloodshed and looked to resolve all issues through dialogues.
The delegation of Ulema also met the premier and suggested releasing Saad Hussain Rizvi, the leader of the proscribed organisation, to end violent protests. However, the premier maintained that he could not decide on the matter, as his case was in court.
'Govt has not shut doors of negotiations'
Earlier, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that the government has not shut doors of negotiations with the TLP and wants to resolve matters amicably.
In a media briefing 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.
To a question, he said that WhatsApp groups of the banned TLP are being operated from India, Hong Kong, South Africa, and other countries.
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 with 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.