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Saturday Nov 03 2018

TLP ends countrywide protest after agreement with government


ISLAMABAD: The government of Pakistan and the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) reached an agreement on Friday to end days-long protests that had left roads blocked and paralysed routine life in major cities of the country.

Protests by religious parties, led by the TLP, had erupted on Wednesday after the Supreme Court ordered the release of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman on death row since 2010, acquitting her of blasphemy charges.

Following the agreement, the TLP leaders announced they were ending their sit-ins. The party chief, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, subsequently asked protesters to disperse from all sit-ins peacefully.

"After almost 48 hours, we have reached a conclusion following detailed negotiations including both federal and provincial government representatives," Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri told Geo News.

Qadri, who was one of the signatories of the five-point document, said the government had agreed to the protesters' demand that it would not object to a review petition over Asia Bibi's acquittal.

The federal minister said that due process would be followed according to law where the Supreme Court or High Court would be requested to include her name in the Exit Control List (ECL).

Copy of the agreement signed by TLP and government representatives.

The five points of the agreement are listed below:

1. A review petition has been filed in the Asia Bibi case which is the right of the petitioners. The government will raise no objections over the review petition.

2. Due process will be followed immediately to include the name of Asia Bibi in the Exit Control List (ECL).

3. Immediate legal action will be taken over the martyrdom of any individuals during the protest campaign against the acquittal of Asia Bibi.

4. All those arrested on October 30 or afterwards in the protest campaign against Asia Bibi's acquittal will be released immediately.

5. The TLP apologises to anybody whose sentiments have been unnecessarily hurt during the incident.

The agreement was signed by federal minister Qadri and Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat — who represented the government — and Pir Mohammad Afzal Qadri and Mohammad Waheed Noor from the TLP.