Govt rejects TLP demands,
Imran warns no one
can take law in hand

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ISLAMABAD: Rejecting all demands of proscribed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), Prime Minister Imran Khan has 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.

The decision was taken during a meeting of the Federal Cabinet. PM Imran Khan 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.

TLP activists march towards capital Islamabad

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

Sources further added that the government has been adamant to not allow the long march “under any circumstances,” and that “no talks will be held with the proscribed organisation.”

“The government and the state are on one page regarding the protests,” the premier said during the meeting, per sources, adding that the protesters will be “dealt with severely if they try to enter Islamabad.”

TLP leadership accuses Sheikh Rashid of lying

The proscribed Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan’s (TLP) central committee on Wednesday accused Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid of lying that matters between it and the government had been settled, adding that the protesters would now depart from Muridke soon for their announced destination of Islamabad.

In a statement issued by the group’s central committee, TLP leader Syed Sarwar Shah Saifi said: “Sheikh Rashid lied yesterday that matters have been resolved. He also lied about contact [with us] at 8pm — from them till now no government official, including Sheikh, has contacted [us].” “Let the entire nation see the malicious intent of the government,” the statement said.

On Tuesday, Rashid had said that the government did not have any “reservations” on the TLP’s demands and there was agreement on all issues discussed with the group — except for the matter of the French ambassador’s expulsion.

He reiterated that the government and TLP had reached an agreement on all other issues and that he would contact the group again at 8pm.

No agreement without expulsion

After Rashid announced that the government could not meet the TLP’s demand for expulsion of the French ambassador, the party had said its activists would now march onto Islamabad.

Regarding the expulsion, Saifi said that France had committed blasphemy at the government level and the TLP thus expected an official response from the incumbent government. “Are these claimants of the state of Madina unable to respond to France? Have they become so enslaved to the Jews and the Christians?” the TLP leader questioned.

The statement called upon the government to fulfil its agreement of expelling the French ambassador, saying that the group had abided by the agreement and given three days, despite losing 40 lives.

Saifi said the demands would increase if more blood was spilt and the nation would be “rid of this dishonest, lying and hypocritical government”. He said it would be better if the agreement was abided by and TLP chief Saad Hussain Rizvi was released so the group could go back.

“Don’t lie to the nation. No negotiations are being done with us. The government is not sincere in negotiations but if more blood is shed now, revenge will be taken,” the statement said.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman

PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said: if Imran Khan’s sit-in was legitimate when the PTI was in the Opposition, “then why isn’t TLP’s long march justified?” He questioned that if protests against Nawaz Sharif was legitimate, then why is it illegal against Imran Khan.

“They are stopping the protestors from entering Islamabad; we demand that the general elections should be held.” Fazl went on to say that “it is the legal right of the TLP to register their protest, therefore, the matters should be resolved through legal means.”

This show should end now’: Fawad Chaudhry

Shedding light on the matter, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said that the problems with the proscribed outfit should not be aggravated, adding that “this show should end now.”

Speaking to the media in Islamabad before the cabinet meeting, Chaudhry had said that the long march going on GT Road should “end immediately.” “The issue of the banned TLP would be discussed in detail during the cabinet meeting and the show should end,” he had added.

Govt denies shutting down French embassy

A day ago, Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad had said that the government is in agreement with all of the demands put forth by the banned party except for the one seeking to shut down the French embassy.

“We have various constraints regarding the matter of French ambassador,” Rasheed had said while briefing the media about the progress of the dialogue with the banned outfit. The minister had said that “there is huge pressure on Pakistan” regarding the banned outfit’s demand related to the French embassy. “Pakistan may face various issues if we send the French ambassador packing,” he had said.

Rasheed had expressed the hope that the banned outfit would call off its sit-in protest as the government had accepted its major demands. “We want them to review their demand related to the French embassy,” the interior minister had said.

He further told the media that a report on the dialogue with the banned outfit’s leadership had been submitted to the prime minister which was also discussed in a meeting held today in the presence of civil and military leadership besides chief secretaries and inspector generals of police.