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Govt, TLP sign secret accord, Gen Bajwa played vital role

LAHORE: After a meeting with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, in Islamabad, Saylani Welfare Trust Chairman Maulana Bashir Farooqui told reporters that Pakistan Army Chief wanted peace in the country.

He stated that the Army Chief laid emphasis on negotiations, and he was not in favour of using power. “Praise be to Allah; everything was done with His blessings,” he said. “The Army Chief has one thousand percent role in finalisation of the agreement,” he added.

Meanwhile, the federal government and the banned outfit Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) on Sunday reached an agreement of mutual understanding after week-long deadly clashes between police and the protesters in different cities of the Punjab province.

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, right, and top religious leader Mufti Muneebur Rehman, centre, who helped negotiate an end to a protest march by Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan, give a press conference, in Islamabad on Sunday.

Renowned cleric Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman while addressing a news conference along with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan and Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser in Islamabad on Sunday said that under the agreement, a steering committee was formed that will be headed by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan and this committee will become functional from Sunday. He said details of the agreement will be disclosed on a suitable time.

“The agreement was signed following detailed talks between the government and TLP leadership. Its positive outcomes would appear within a week or 10 days. The agreement has also the endorsement of TLP head Saad Rizvi,” Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman told reporters during the press conference. “The agreement was reached after sense prevailed over aggression, rationality prevailed over sentiments, and all the participants demonstrated patience,” he added. Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman also thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan who formulated a committee for talks with the banned TLP and also expressed confidence in the committee’s proceedings.

Mufti Muneebur Rehman and Saylani Welfare Trust Chairman Maulana Bashir Farooqui stand with COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

The negotiations committee comprised Minister for Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, NA Speaker Asad Qaiser and State Minister Ali Muhammad Khan from the government side while TLP was represented by Mufti Umair, Allama Ghulam Abbas and Hafiz Hafeez.

Mufti Muneeb who played a role in reconciliation along with Chairman of Saylani Welfare Trust Maulana Bashir Farooqui during the talks said that a steering committee headed by State Minister Ali Muhammad Khan will oversee the implementation of the agreement “in letter and spirit.”

The steering committee would also be comprised of Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat, Federal Interior Secretary and Punjab Home Secretary.

While from TLP, Mufti Ghulam Ghaus and Engineer Hafeezullah Alvi would be the members of the steering body. “It will start functioning from today,” he added.

Praying for the peace of departed souls of policemen and TLP workers who lost lives during the protest, he thanked the government, opposition and media for supporting peace and calling for avoiding the use of any force. He said the contour of the agreement would be shared later on a suitable time. Mufti Muneeb said the agreement has been reached before any deterioration of the situation. “This is not the victory of any individual, but it is the victory of Islam, patriotism, and protection of human lives,” he remarked.

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, right, and top religious leader Mufti Muneebur Rehman, centre, who helped negotiate an end to a protest march by Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan, give a press conference, in Islamabad on Sunday.

Mufti Muneeb also said that the talks were held in an independent, serious and responsible atmosphere without any duress and lauded the contribution of all religious leaders to achieve the objective.

Mufti Muneeb also asked media to portray the agreement positively and contribute to the sincere efforts of the committee which held negotiations for consecutive 12-13 hours. He said the agreement would be different from the previous ones which used to be negated hours after its signing.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also thanked Ulema, who met the prime minister on Saturday and assured their support and played their part to steer the country out of an ordeal. He said the committee was formed after the National Security Committee decided to prefer the course of dialogue and resolve the issue prudently.

Keeping in view the same mandate, he said the committee worked to address the perturbance among the people and do away with the situation which had led to the killings, losses of properties and economy.

“We saw the loss of lives, property, chaos at hospital, difficulty in people’s movement, fear of economic loss, so we chose the path of peace.” The Minister said peace will prevail as the result of this agreement. “We believe in the power of negotiations and everyone should play the role for betterment of the country,” he added.

Qureshi said the course of dialogue was opted keeping in view the national interest as any violence could appease none but the anti-state elements.

The agreement comes after almost two weeks of clashes that left at least seven policemen dead and scores injured on both sides. The proscribed group began the march, calling for the release of its incarcerated leader, Saad Rizvi, and the expulsion of France’s ambassador over the publication of caricatures depicting the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in a French satirical magazine.