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Govt-TLP agreement: Over 800 workers of proscribed outfit released

Govt to also withdraw appeal against Saad Rizvi’s release. (Source: AFP)

LAHORE: More than 800 workers of the banned Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) have been released from jails, days after reaching a deal with the proscribed outfit to end nearly two weeks of protests and clashes, it emerged on Tuesday.  

According to a report published in Dawn.com, the development was confirmed by Punjab Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Raja Basharat. He said the people who were released were those arrested during crackdowns on the protests.

They were released after scrutiny was completed, Basharat said, adding that workers against whom first information reports (FIRs) were registered would have to obtain bail from courts.

The government had signed an accord with the proscribed outfit last Sunday, under which workers of the organisation who are not facing any formal criminal charges were to be released. The amnesty will also extend to the party’s top leader, Saad Rizvi.

Implementation of the agreement started after a Monday meeting of the steering committee formed by Prime Minister Imran Khan to work out how the deal would be executed.

Federal Minister Ali Mohammad Khan chaired the meeting. It was attended by Raja Basharat, secretaries of the federal interior ministry, additional chief secretary of the Punjab Home Department, other officials, as well as some members of the TLP.

The meeting also decided to withdraw its appeal filed against the release of TLP leader Saad Rizvi. The government had earlier challenged the order of a Lahore High Court (LHC) bench regarding Rizvi’s release.

The TLP had launched the latest round of protests in Lahore on Oct 20, primarily to exert pressure on the Punjab government for the release of its chief, Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi, the son of its late founder Khadim Rizvi. The younger Rizvi has been kept in detention by the Punjab government since April 12 for “maintenance of public order”.

TLP never demanded French Envoy’s expulsion: Mufti Muneeb

A day earlier, Mufti Muneebur Rehman claimed that the proscribed Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) never demanded the expulsion of the French ambassador and the closure of the embassy.

Speaking to journalists in Karachi, the religious cleric said, “Lies were spoken on television about the talks [with the TLP], that they had demanded the expulsion of the French envoy and to break ties with the European Union. This was a blatant lie.”

“How can trust be established when government officials speak lies publicly?” he asked, adding that those who participated in the negotiations did not have personal agendas, calling the whole process a “marathon intellectual exercise”.