LAHORE: The spokesman for Punjab government, Malik Ahmed Khan, said on Wednesday that arresting Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi and other Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA) leaders is proving to be difficult for the provincial authorities.
The TLP chief and TLYRA leaders were declared proclaimed offenders by an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad on Tuesday. Speaking to Dawn NewsTV regarding the ongoing TLYRA protest at Lahore’s Data Darbar, Khan said Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah is in constant contact with the protesters and is trying to convince them to abandon the sit-in.
He said the government wants the protest to conclude through dialogue. Yesterday, Rizvi had threatened to hold nationwide protests if the government fails to fulfill the terms agreed in the controversial army-brokered agreement during the Faizabad sit-in last year. But “the demands made in the Faizabad agreement cannot be fulfilled as the Islamabad High Court has already declared the agreement null and void,” Khan told Dawn News TV.
The contentious Faizabad agreement had led to the resignation of the then law minister Zahid Hamid in return for the TLYRA promising they would issue no fatwa against him. Leaders at the protest had announced on Tuesday that if the conditions stated in the Faizabad agreement — which had become a cause of much controversy for carrying signatures of an army general as a mediator — are not met, they will announce their future course of action via a press conference on Wednesday.
“There are some elements present at the sit-in who can create a violent situation if the government uses police action [against them].We want to avoid a Faizabad-like situation at Data Darbar,” Khan said, explaining why the government is erring on the side of caution while dealing with the protest.