ISLAMABAD: In view of sensitiveness and significance of TLP issue and its ‘secret’ agreement with the government, Prime Minister Imran Khan has forbidden all ministers not to comment on the subject or issue any statement.
Prime Minister is calling an important meeting on this issue and situation would be cleared afterwards, the sources confirmed.
Meanwhile, former Ruet-e-Halal Committee Chairman Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman said on Monday that some government officials (empower federal ministers) lied regarding banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan’s (TLP) demand for expulsion of the French ambassador and the closure of the embassy.
Talking to media outside Jinnah International Airport in Karachi on Monday, he said that the use of force is disastrous for the state. He said Ulemas from all over the country had asked them to play their role in the talks.
The former Ruet-e-Halal Committee Chairman while terming the statements of some government officials that the banned TLP had demanded the expulsion of the French ambassador, the closure of the embassy, a blatant lie said that lies were spoken about the negotiations with the banned TLP.
He said whatever was being shown had nothing to do with reality, adding the representatives of the government also had no link to this but it was not appropriate for government officials to lie.
Mufti Muneeb went on to say that the banned TLP’s leadership had complained of being deceived by the government in the past those who had been threatening government the protesters of establishing the writ of the state were ignorant.
Earlier today, residents of Rawalpindi breathed a sigh of relief as roads, markets and schools reopened after 10 days following an agreement between the government and banned outfit.
According to sources, the workers of banned TLP will be released after the legal procedure while the government will commit to global measures to prevent blasphemy, including Banned TLP workers will remain peaceful.
Mufti Muneeb was among the clerics who facilitated talks between the government and the proscribed group, helping both sides reach an agreement after an impasse of three weeks.
He further said the country’s “liberals” were more incensed than Pakistan’s external enemies over the government’s recent agreement with the TLP.
He was responding to a question from a reporter about Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry’s statement that there was “at least some good news” after India lost to New Zealand during the ongoing T20 World Cup.
Asked whether ministers that the negotiating team had objected to were included in the negotiations, the cleric shook his head. “When we went, you should understand [the implication].”
He also stated that the “liberals” who were instigating the government, would be the first ones to jump ship when faced with choppy waters. “We’ve seen them before in one ship, then another and now in this ship.”
The cleric said that liberals were crying about the writ of the state, similar to what had happened during the Lal Masjid operation in 2007.
“Till 12 at night they talked about the writ of the state, but when the unfortunate operation took place they opposed it,” he said, branding such people as the enemies of the government.
Talks with TLP
The cleric’s comments come a day after members of the negotiating team from the government side claimed that they had reached an agreement with the proscribed group in order to end the nearly three-week-long impasse, but refused to divulge its details.
Mufti Muneeb, who along with some other clerics facilitated the talks, said the agreement had the backing of jailed TLP chief Saad Rizvi.
Refusing to share contents of the deal, the cleric said its details would be made public at an “appropriate time”. He, however, said its “positive result” would be visible to the nation next week or during the next 10 days. He then used an English proverb “action speaks louder than words” to justify the move to keep details of the deal secret.
Prior to this, a team of 19 senior clerics had met Prime Minister Imran Khan at his Banigala residence on Saturday. The delegation was led by Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noorul Haq Qadri.
However, the senior clerics, all of whom were Barelvis, had objected to the presence of Special Representative to Prime Minister on Religious Harmony Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi in the meeting, after which he left. The information minister, who was on his way to Banigala, was also told not to come as the delegation had objected to his presence as well. The minister’s announced press talk was also cancelled.
Both Tahir Ashrafi and Fawad Chaudhry were not visible in the official footage released by the PM secretariat after the meeting.
When contacted, Fawad Chaudhry said he was not even invited to the meeting. He said the announcement made by the PID regarding his news conference was mistakenly released as the presser was in fact scheduled by Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, but was later done by the religious affairs minister.
On the other hand, Tahir Ashrafi responded to media queries through a tweet, claiming that he and Fawad Chaudhry were not there because they had to go to some other meeting.