Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid chairs high level meeting on TLP protests
LAHORE: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid chaired an important meeting in Lahore on Saturday to review the grim law and order situation in the province emerging from the long march announced by a banned religious outfit Tehreek–i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) towards Islamabad.
The high-level security meeting was attended by federal and provincial ministers including Religious Minister Noorul Haq Qadri, Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Minister Ali Amin Gandapur, Punjab Law Minister Muhammad Raja Basharat and Minister of Punjab for Public Prosecution Chaudhry Zaheeruddin. Besides, several top government officials also attended the meeting.
IGP Punjab Rao Sardar gave a detailed briefing to the participants about the law and order situation. According to sources, it was decided in the meeting that government’s negotiating team would visit Kot Lakhpat jail to hold dialogues with Saad Rizvi, leader of the banned outfit who is currently in prison facing various charges.
It may be relevant to mention here that the protesters had left Lahore for Islamabad early on Saturday morning. During Friday’s clashes in Lahore, at least three policemen got killed and many sustained injuries. Similarly, several protesters got injured and a few deaths were also reported.
Due to the tense situation in the country, before leaving for Saudi Arabia Prime Minister Imran Khan had asked the Interior Minister to return immediately from Dubai where he had gone to witness the Pakistan-India World T20 cricket match, scheduled to be held on Sunday evening.
On the other hand, the federal government has also formed a three-member team to negotiate with members of the banned outfit. The government’s negotiation team will comprise Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, Religious Minister Noorul Haq Qadri and Punjab Law Minister Muhammad Raja Basharat.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan held a telephonic conversation with Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noorul Haq Qadri on Saturday and discussed the prevailing law and order situation. On the directives of the PM, Noorul Haq Qadri arrived in Lahore from Karachi to hold negotiations with the banned outfit’s leadership.
“The government believes in resolving issues through dialogue,” said Qadri, adding that protecting the lives and properties of the people is government’s top priority.
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