Meeting summoned in light of TLP's illegal activities: Fawad Chaudhry
Prime Minister Imran Khan has summoned a meeting of the National Security Council on Friday as protests by the banned militant Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan continue for the second week, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced.
In a tweet on Thursday, he said the meeting has been called on urgent basis “in view of the situation arising out of the illegal activities of the banned party”.
Chaudhry added: “Prime Minister Imran Khan has convened a meeting of the National Security Committee tomorrow [Friday]. Other issues related to national security will also be considered in this meeting.”
The minister’s statement comes as hundreds of TLP supporters enter Gujranwala Thursday afternoon. They have vowed to march on Islamabad after their negotiations with the government failed for the third time.
Earlier in the day, a TLP spokesperson said the fourth round of negotiation between the party and government have begun in Islamabad. The militant outfit’s heir Saad Rizvi is said to be attending it. In the early hours of the morning, he was taken to an undisclosed location from the Kot Lakhpat jail where he was incarcerated.
On Wednesday, the government decided to move against the proscribed Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan in “no restraint” mode for inciting violence in the country.
“The banned TLP will now be treated as a militant organization,” the information said, adding that the militant outfit has set a trend of violence in the country which won’t be tolerated any further.
In clear terms, he said that the TLP had falsely presumed that it was possible to “blackmail the state.”
The government’s announcement came after a Punjab Police sub-inspector was killed and at least seven policemen were injured when TLP protesters clashed with police in Gujranwala’s Sadhoke.
During the clashes last week, three policemen were killed and over 50 were injured.
Meanwhile, the protesters reached Chanda Qila, a few kilometers from Gujranwala, Thursday afternoon. To stop them, a number of trucks and containers have been parked on the Sarai Alamgir GT Road. The Chenab Bridge in Gujarat has been completely closed for traffic, while all routes from Gujarat to Lahore have been closed.
The authorities in Rawalpindi and Islamabad have once again closed roads using shipping containers. Additional security measures for Islamabad’s diplomatic enclave were being implemented, especially, to protect the French embassy. The Metro Bus Service between Rawalpindi and Islamabad has been suspended.
The Pakistan Railways has cancelled at least four trains, including the Green Line, and rerouted others to avoid areas hit by clashes.
The TLP protesters had been encamped at Muridke, between Lahore and Gujranwala, since Sunday when the negotiation between the government and the TLP began. The government released at least 350 of the TLP activists and the protesters opened roads. They also agreed to not to proceed towards Islamabad.
However, after the talks failed the TLP protesters resumed their long march.