pakistan
Saturday Oct 30 2021
By
Web Desk

12-member committee formed to negotiate between govt, TLP: Qadri

By
Web Desk
Minister of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri speaking during a press conference on Saturday, October 30, 2021. — Screengrab via Hum News Live
Minister of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri speaking during a press conference on Saturday, October 30, 2021. — Screengrab via Hum News Live

  • PM Imran Khan tells ulema government always welcomes constructive talks.
  • Ulemas' suggestions to wrap up protests will be welcomed, PM tells meeting.
  • "We urge the protesters to not resort to violence," Sunni Ittehad Council president says.


ISLAMABAD: Minister of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri said Saturday a 12-member committee has been formed to play the negotiator's role between the government and the proscribed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

Speaking to the media after attending a meeting of the state officials and religious scholars belonging to the Barelvi school of thought — with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair — Qadri said that the committee is in talks with the government as well as the leaders of the proscribed organisation.

The federal minister said religious leaders from across the country met the prime minister and expressed the resolve to wrap up the matter peacefully.

Qadri said the premier told the meeting's participants that the incumbent government has always welcomed meaningful and serious talks.

The prime minister also told the ulema that their suggestions, which might save the country from bloodshed, will also be considered, the federal minister said.

"The 12-member committee is in talks with the TLP leadership, and we hope they can move forward [in their negotiations with the proscribed political party]," he said.

Earlier in the day, a delegation of ulema had reached the prime minister's personal residence at Bani Gala late Saturday afternoon, the report had said.

'No torture'

For his part, President Sunni Ittehad Council (Faisalabad) Sahibzada Hamid Raza said the prime minister had assured the meeting's participants that the government would not use "torture" to curtail the protests.

Raza said the prime minister told the meeting that he did not wish to see bloodshed in the country, but noted that there would be "no compromise when it came to the writ of the state."

"We urge the protesters to not resort to violence [...] as negotiations are underway in different parts of the country," the SIC president said.

When asked whether the protest was a constitutional right, Raza said that the protesters should remain where there and not move forward as it might sabotage the negotiations.

"Wait a little more since you have already waited this long," he told the protesters.

Raza refused to go into details about the negotiations, as he said that it might lead to confusion.

Fawad refutes reports of being asked to exit

Speaking in Geo News' programme "Jirga", Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said PM Imran Khan's speech, which was expected today as per Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed, had been suspended due to the negotiation talks.

"The reports of me being asked to not attend the meeting with ulema has no basis [...] I personally do not like to sit in such meetings," the information minister said.

A committee, comprising Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan, will hold talks with TLP leadership, he said.

The information minister said he was unaware of talks with the proscribed outfit's chief.

Security forces take positions

Roads remained blocked and traffic suspended in Wazirabad on Saturday as TLP protestors intending to march on Islamabad encamped near the city for a second straight day.

Punjab Rangers have placed banners to warn the protesters. -Photo Twitter
Punjab Rangers have placed banners to warn the protesters. -Photo Twitter  

Outside Wazirabad, security forces have dug trenches and placed barricades on the roads in an attempt to contain the mob near a crossing over the Chenab.

All roads between Wazirabad-Sialkot and Wazirabad-Gujranwala have been sealed by government authorities to cut off the mob's advance. 

Train and internet services remain suspended in Gujranwala; however, life is inching back to normalcy in the city.

President Arif Alvi seeks ulema's help 

Earlier, President Dr Arif Alvi had sought ulema’s help in defusing tensions that have arisen due to protests by the TLP, which have disrupted life in several Punjab cities.

The president had issued the appeal in a consultative meeting with a delegation of ulema from Ahle-e-Sunnat-wal-Jamaat from different districts across the country led by Noor-ul Haq-Qadri, which called on him at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.

The consultative meeting at President House had taken place after a National Security Committee huddle in Islamabad unanimously resolved to guard the sovereignty of the state from all internal and external threats and to not allow the proscribed outfit to challenge its writ in any way.