Govt engages with outlawed TLP once again as protesters enter Gujranwala

Shahid Aslam Special Correspondent - Lahore

28th Oct, 2021. 02:58 pm

Supporters of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party near Gujranwala as they continue their march towards Islamabad. Photo: Shahid Aslam/Bol News

LAHORE: As the outlawed Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) march towards Islamabad resumed on Thursday with the protestors entering Gujranwala, the government attempts to strike a deal with the group once again with talks being held in the capital.

A large number of protesters are marching towards Islamabad to press the government not only for the release of TLP leader Saad Rizvi but also for the expulsion of the French envoy from the country. They have been demanding the French envoy’s expulsion over the blasphemous content shared and promoted in the European country that hurt the feelings of millions of Muslims across the world.

On the other hand, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has made it clear that no such demand of closing an embassy or expelling an ambassador would be accepted.

TLP spokesperson confirms of talks

A TLP spokesperson confirmed that their party chief Saad Rizvi is holding talks with the government in Islamabad. Mufti Muhammad Umair, Allama Ghulam Abbas Faizi are also present along with Rizvi, he added.

“The location of the talks is secret,” said the spokesperson.

Internet services suspended in Gujranwala

Internet service remains suspended in Gujranwala and nearby areas. Paramilitary force and Police personnel are standing alert to deal with the protesters in Gujranwala.

Sources in the police have told Bol News that the law enforcement agency has decided to stop the march near Wazirabad as it would give them enough space to deal with the issue.

When asked about the blocking of roads, the officials shared that in Gujranwala not many roads are blocked and assured that the containers have been put up at a couple of points. The protesters have been moving towards Gujranwala city rather peacefully in contrast to what they did yesterday, they added.

It is also learnt that TLP leadership has also directed its workers not to attack any police or rangers and move ahead peacefully.

The outlawed organisation vowed that they would reach the federal capital at any cost but peacefully by removing all barricades. They vowed to return soon after their demands were met by the government.

Govt says TLP to be dealt as ‘militant’ organisation

A day earlier Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, in their respective press conferences in Islamabad after the Cabinet meeting, told media that the TLP would be treated as a militant organisation. The decision was made as the proscribed outfit has been challenging the writ of the state for the last few years, they said.

Rashid had also announced that the government has called in the Punjab Rangers for at least two months to assist the police in maintaining the law and order situation.

Shehbaz slams ministers for ‘contradictory’ statements

Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif slammed the federal ministers for giving “contradictory statements on the prevailing situation”.

“One of them said that PM was unaware of the 2020 Agreement with TLP. There is sheer chaos and lack of leadership and the government machinery is totally clueless. This is Imran Khan’s way of governing Pakistan!!” said Shehbaz on Twitter.

IGP says police to deal matters with ‘iron fist’

Following the orders from the federal cabinet, Inspector-General Punjab Police Rao Sardar Ali Khan said that the law enforcement agency would deal with the TLP with an iron fist.

According to the IGP, since the TLP march started last Friday from Lahore, at least five police personnel were martyred and over 260 others were injured.

Similarly, TLP has claimed that several of its workers were killed and injured during the clashes. They claimed that the police had fired tear gas on the protesters whereas the law enforcement agency claimed that the demonstrators had attacked their contingents with petrol bombs.

Adsence 300X250