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Pakistan Print 2021-11-03

Banned TLP may be allowed to contest polls

ISLAMABAD: Government is to free more than 2,000 jailed activists of a banned Islamist militant group and allow the...
Published November 3, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Government is to free more than 2,000 jailed activists of a banned militant group and allow the movement to contest elections, under a deal with the government struck to end weeks of violent clashes, negotiators on both sides said.

In return, the Tehrik-e-Labaik Pakistan has agreed to shun the politics of violence and withdraw its longstanding demand to have France’s ambassador expelled over the publication of caricatures by a French satirical magazine, they told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The government and the movement said at the weekend they had reached an agreement to help end the clashes, but neither side gave details.

Two members of the TLP’s negotiating team and one from the government side told Reuters the centrepiece of the deal was to lift the ban and allow the group to contest elections.

“The state has acknowledged that the TLP is neither a terrorist group nor a banned outfit,” another member of the TLP negotiation team, Bashir Farooqi, separately told local TV channel.

In addition, the government has agreed not to contest the release of the group’s jailed leader as well as nearly 2,300 activists and to remove their names from a terrorist watch list, the three negotiators told Reuters.

Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat said nearly 1,000 of the activists had already been released.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry did not respond to a request for comment.

The settlement came after seven police officers were killed and hundreds more were wounded as they confronted thousands of TLP demonstrators marching up busiest highway from the eastern city of Lahore to the capital Islamabad.

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