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Pakistan

Salient features of govt-TLP agreement unveiled

Published November 4, 2021
Supporters of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party shout slogans during a sit-in protest in Lahore on October 21, 2021, demanding the release of their leader Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi, son of late Khadim Hussain Rizvi, founder of Tehreek-e-Labbaik. (Photo: AFP)
Supporters of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party shout slogans during a sit-in protest in Lahore on October 21, 2021, demanding the release of their leader Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi, son of late Khadim Hussain Rizvi, founder of Tehreek-e-Labbaik. (Photo: AFP)
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ISLAMABAD: Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) will not resort to violence or challenge the writ of the state, it would be restored as a political party with the ban removed, cases against its leaders and workers would be quashed, all members would be released from jail and the names of its leaders/workers placed in Fourth Schedule would be removed.

These are some major highlights of the much talked about 11-point agreement reached between the federal government and TLP earlier on Sunday to end 10-day standoff, Business Recorder has reliably learnt.

Although both federal government functionaries and TLP leadership have remained tight-lipped regarding the details of the agreement, background discussions with leaders from both sides suggest that the government has agreed to restore TLP as a political party, and, in return, the TLP has assured that it would not resort to violence or agitation or challenge the writ of the state.

The TLP has also withdrawn its demand regarding the expulsion of the French envoy after receiving assurances that the government would not oppose the release of TLP chief Saad Rizvi in the court, sources said.

“The issue of French envoy expulsion would be debated in Parliament and whatever decision the Parliament takes regarding French envoy shall be acceptable to TLP,” said a renowned religious figure, on condition of strict anonymity.

“It is unlikely that Parliament would push the government to expel French envoy from Pakistan. By referring the matter to Parliament, the government would honour its commitment to TLP without affecting Pakistan’s relationship with France. It would be a win-win situation for all,” the source said.

Noted cleric Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, who was instrumental in the agreement between TLP and government, indicated earlier on Sunday that TLP would soon function as a political party.

Speaking to Business Recorder, he did not confirm or deny when asked about key points of the agreement.

“I cannot confirm or deny anything at this point. When the time comes, you will get to know everything,” he said. “Soon, Allah willing, you would see Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan as an active political party — under the ambit of the Constitution of Pakistan and the law,” he added.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, when approached, gave a brief reply.

“I was not directly involved in negotiations leading to this agreement. So, I won’t say anything,” he said and dropped the call by this correspondent.

Business Recorder also tried to contact TLP’s Ghulam Abbas Faizi and Mufti Muhammad Umair, who had signed the agreement, but they were not available for comments.

Apart from these two TLP leaders, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser, Parliamentary Affairs State Minister Ali Muhammad Khan and a senior military official are among the signatories of the agreement, it is learnt.

The signed agreement has been sealed in an envelope and the signatories have taken a “solemn pledge” not to disclose details of the agreement “for at least 10 days,” sources revealed to Business Recorder. The standoff between both the sides was resolved following the intervention of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, it is learnt.

At least two federal ministers in the cabinet of Prime Minister Imran Khan were strongly in favour of unleashing force on TLP against the backdrop of the killing of the policemen in clashes with TLP workers in Punjab. However, army chief had categorically opposed using force, saying that such a step would plunge the country into further chaos and bloodshed, it is further learnt.

“The government was all set for a showdown with the TLP. A hard-hitting press release issued after National Security Committee (NSC) meeting last week was a reflection of this plan— before the army chief took a stand against this policy—and, soon after, everything was settled and the government’s spokespersons began rattling the peace mantra — that the PM did not want bloodshed in the country,” according to sources.

Ironically, the TLP, which is presently banned by federal government, is still registered as a political party with Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). TLP continues to field its candidates in different by-elections of national and provincial legislatures, and its candidates received hundreds of thousands of votes even after being banned by the Interior Ministry in April this year.

In the light of relevant provisions of Political Parties Order 2002, a political party can be dissolved only on the orders of the Supreme Court, for which, the federal government is required to refer the related matter to the apex court. The government never moved the SC to get the TLP dissolved.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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