Govt agrees to release arrested TLP workers, boycott French products
Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) has ended its march in Islamabad after a midnight announcement by its leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi.
He addressed participants of the march after his group’s leaders signed an agreement with the government’s negotiation team.
The agreement with the TLP leaders was signed by Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, Minister for Religious Affair Noor-ul-Haq Qadri and Islamabad Commissioner Aamir Ahmed.
According to a written agreement shared with SAMAA Digital by Khadim Hussain Rizvi’s son Saad Rizvi, the government will ‘expel’ the French ambassador within two to three months with a consensus from parliament.
Under the agreement, the country will not post an ambassador to France and French products will be boycotted on the government-level.
The government has also agreed to release all arrested TLP workers.
Earlier, Imran Siddiqui, the spokesperson for the religious affairs ministry, told SAMAA Digital that Interior Minister Brigadier (retired) Ijaz Shah, Minister for Religious Affairs Noor-ul-Qadri and Advisor to PM Khan Shahzad Akbar held talks with TLP leaders and convinced them to end the sit-in.
Mobile phone signals in Islamabad and Rawalpindi have been restored as of 10:50pm.
Nine people, including four policemen, were injured in clashes between law enforcement and members of the TLP on Sunday night.
No critical injury has been reported. The protestors vandalized the metrobus near Rawalpindi. The DC for Islamabad said that the Islamabad Expressway from Zero Point till Khanna Bridge will stay sealed. “Everyone is requested to please use alternate routes,” he tweeted. “Apologies for inconvenience. We are trying our best to clear the route.”
TLP head Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi had said that they will hold the rally to protest the publication of blasphemous caricatures in a French magazine, and against the country’s president Emmanuel Macron for his anti-Islam remarks. Rizvi has not, however, joined the rally or dharna.
The party demands that Pakistan sever diplomatic ties with France.
The rally started from Liaquat Bagh, Rawalpindi in the evening and faced heavy tear gas shelling from police at Murree Road. The protestors managed to reach the Faizabad Interchange, where they faced more tear gas shelling throughout the night.
A contingent of 2,500 policemen and over 700 FC jawans has been deployed at different points of the city. Containers block all major routes towards Islamabad. However, there were reports that all roads were clear except for the expressway.
Mobile and internet networks were shut Sunday night. This has created a partial vacuum around the story. The pictures and videos of the clashes between the TLP and the Islamabad police are being circulated by the TLP’s supporters with grainy images and footage arriving on the internet hours later.
SSP Traffic Islamabad tweeted yesterday that inter-provincial traffic has increased on the Expressway and Kashmir Highway because of the rally, which is why roads nearby have been closed.
He said that additional Islamabad traffic police have been deployed. People are requested to follow the traffic plan and avoid unnecessary travel.
The official tweeted traffic route plan for today and until further notice.
Faizabad is closed from all four sides.
Diversion placed at Ninth Avenue signal on IJP Road for both sides of traffic
Alternate: Faqeer Ipi Road and Peshawar Road can be used
Diversion placed at Srinagar Highway at Zero Point loops going towards Islamabad Expressway
Alternate: Ninth Avenue can be used to reach I-8, I-9 and adjacent sectors. Rawal Dam Chowk, Taramri, and then Lehtrar Road can be used to reach Khanna Pul and then Islamabad Highway
Diversion placed at Rawal Dam Chowk on Murree Road for traffic to and from Faizabad
Alternate: Rawal Dam Chowk, Park Road, Tarmari Chowk and then Lehtrar Road can be used to reach Islamabad Highway.
Diversions placed at Islamabad Highway, under Khana Pul for traffic from both sides
Alternate: Koral interchange can be used to enter Rawalpindi. Khanna Interchange can be used via Lehtrar Road and Tarmari Chowk and then Rawal Dam Chowk to reach Srinagar Highway
Diversions placed at Serena Chowk, State Bank Chowk and D-Chowk for Red Zone entry and exit
Alternate: Ayub Chowk and Margalla Road can be used for Red Zone entry and exit