Thursday Oct 28 2021

TLP asks interior minister to reveal details of negotiations to public

Protests by members of banned outfit TLP entered their seventh day today (Thursday). Photo: file
Protests by members of banned outfit TLP entered their seventh day today (Thursday). Photo: file
  • Banned outfit TLP wants details of talks with government to be revealed by interior minister to the public.
  • TLP spokesperson says protests are the beauty of democracy, and that government ministers "should avoid bullying".
  • Blames government for creating difficulties for people by placing containers on roads and digging trenches.

LAHORE: Banned outfit Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) has asked Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed to reveal details of the negotiations between the government and proscribed group and put TLP's position forward to the public, saying they will "not allow the facts to be distorted."

Saddam Bukhari, a spokesman for the outlawed TLP said: "One side of the picture should not be shown regarding negotiations with the government. Our only demand from day one was that the French ambassador be deported."

He said the rest of the demands were put forward by TLP due to a clash with the law enforcement agencies and claimed that the talks between the government and TLP will continue in Islamabad.

"Our caravan is on its way to Islamabad," he said, adding that the TLP leadership will make a decision on stopping the caravan after successful talks.

Referring to Sheikh Rasheed, the TLP spokesman further said that the interior minister should reveal details of the talks and TLP's position should also be put forward.

History has shown that we have been peaceful, but the government has always used force to snatch our constitutional and legal rights, the TLP activist claimed, adding that protests are the beauty of democracy, and that government ministers "should avoid bullying".

The spokesman also said that it was clear from the recent statement of Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet that the country is being run through a one-man show.

The spokesman blamed the government for creating difficulties for the people by placing containers on roads and digging trenches. He said the TLP is a religious party with the third biggest political force in Punjab. He alleged that militants are those who staged a sit-in in Islamabad for 126 days and attacked the PTV and Parliament buildings.

A day earlier, the premier had said that the government will not allow anyone to take the law into their hands as he issued directives to stop the long march planned by TLP to Islamabad.

Per sources, the decision was taken during a meeting of the Federal Cabinet. PM Imran Khan had said that the government "will not allow violence for political purposes."

During the meeting, the premier was briefed on the proscribed outfit's protest march, sources said, adding that the government has decided not to allow protesters to march beyond Jhelum.

It should be noted that earlier, on the same day, several police officers were injured in a clash with the workers of the proscribed party in Sadhoke.

Earlier on Wednesday, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar said during an appearance on Geo News programme Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath that the state tried to persuade the banned TLP through dialogue for a long time, but the group resorted to violence.

He said there was evidence that the TLP is receiving external support.

The TLP protest

Protests by members of banned outfit TLP entered their seventh day today (Thursday), with protesters camping out in Kamoke since last night.

The activists of the proscribed organisation marching towards Islamabad have set up camp on the Kamoke portion of GT Road, while they make preparations to move ahead in their march. Business centres in the city and on GT Road are closed and so are the shops and restaurants on the highway.

Public and private educational institutions located on GT Road and its adjoining areas have also been closed and internet services in Kamoke have been suspended.

A trench has been dug by the government on GT Road near Chenab Bridge and containers have also been placed, while the road from Wazirabad to Sialkot has been excavated and the land route between the two cities has been cut off to block the protesters from moving forward.

Repair work on the ditches dug on the Sadhoke stretch of the road, meanwhile, could not be started.

Security has been tightened in Rawalpindi and Murree Road is completely closed for traffic, while the Rawalpindi Metrobus service is closed till further notice.

The banned TLP extended its protest on Rabiul Awwal 12. Initially, the proscribed group staged sit-ins in Multan and Lahore, after which a march towards Islamabad was announced.

Security forces had cordoned off major roads to prevent the protesters from reaching Islamabad. The protesters have been staging sit-ins on GT Road for the past several days, disrupting transport services.

TLP's march has affected life in the federal capital and various other cities in Punjab.

Strict security arrangements have been made in Rawalpindi. The main highways connecting Islamabad and Rawalpindi have been sealed and the Faizabad Metro service has been suspended. Major traffic jams have been reported on alternative routes and citizens are facing difficulties as it has also become difficult to go to a hospital.