Tuesday Apr 20, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday met the Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed to discuss the ongoing negotiations the government is holding with an outlawed religious organisation.
According to sources, PM Imran Khan congratulated Rasheed for successfully holding talks with the banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).
"You have done a great job by amicably settling the matter," PM Imran Khan reportedly told Rasheed, according to sources.
The premier also directed the interior minister to continue working [towards] ensuring peace in the country.
After 'successfully' holding talks with the banned TLP, Sheikh Rasheed said earlier today that the government would present a resolution in the National Assembly seeking the expulsion of the French envoy and withdraw cases against members of the proscribed organisation.
A government delegation, comprising the interior minister, Minister for Religious Affairs Dr Noorul Haq Qadri, SAPM Tahir Ashrafi, Governor Punjab Mohammad Sarwar and Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat, held talks with members of the proscribed group in Lahore.
The interior minister, in a video statement, said the protests across Pakistan, including the one outside the headquarters of the religiopolitical group, will end.
Rasheed said he would hold a press conference sometime later today to share details. “Talks will continue with them.”
He said that all cases, including those filed under the fourth schedule, against the members of banned TLP will also be withdrawn.
Earlier, Geo News sources said that the resolution would not be tabled by the government. "The NA will debate whether to expel the French envoy or not."
On Monday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the second round of talks between the Punjab government and the outlawed TLP had concluded, hours after the first round was successful.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed, earlier in the day, had announced that 11 policemen, who were taken hostage in Lahore by the banned party had been released after negotiations carried out by the Punjab government.
In a video statement, the interior minister said the “first round of talks” concluded in a "successful manner" after which the policemen were released and the protesters had gone inside the Masjid Rehmatulil Alameen.
Governor Punjab Chaudhry Sarwar and Law Minister Raja Basharat represented the government in the second round of talks, the information minister said.
"The third round will be held at 10pm, with Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed and Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri in attendance," he added.
All 16 police officials taken hostage on Sunday were released at 2:10 a.m. Monday morning, Rana Arif, the spokesperson for Lahore CCPO told Geo.tv.
The four demands of the TLP included the release of their leader Saad Rivi, for TLP to be unbanned, all FIRs against their workers be dropped and a resolution be presented in the parliament to expel the French ambassador, the official added.
On Sunday, 36 policemen were injured in clashes with the rioters. Of which one is critical, Arif said.
The 16 hostages were kept in the basement of a mosque and tortured.
Before the final round of talks, Prime Minister Imran Khan in an address to the nation had reminded the countrymen that Pakistan was built on the principles of Islam.
He stressed that the government is on the same page with the TLP regarding the protection of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)'s honour, however, expelling the ambassador of France is not the solution to Islamophobia.
"The West has made this an issue of freedom of speech and if we send back the French ambassador, some other European country will follow suit," PM Imran Khan had said.
He said that if Pakistan starts sending back ambassadors of different countries, the economy will suffer, but it would not make a difference to France or any other country.