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Long march: Islamabad-Rawalpindi roads open after talks make ‘progress’

TLP supporters are demanding release of Saad Rizvi

SAMAA | and - Posted: Oct 24, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
SAMAA | and
Posted: Oct 24, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago

A traffic police warden removes containers at IJP Road with the help of a fork lifter. PHOTO ONLINE

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Authorities in Rawalpindi and Islamabad have removed barricades and opened roads that were closed to stop a "long march" by the proscribed Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP). The development comes after Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed said that there was progress in the negotiations with the TLP regarding the release of their founder's heir Saad Rizvi. The TLP protesters have stopped at Muridke, before Gujranawala, after reaching an understanding with the government as the talks continue. Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noor-ul-Haq Qadri has ruled out the possibility of more clashes between the police and TLP activists. Roads open in Islamabad-Rawalpindi Traffic has now resumed to normal in the twin cities with citizens expressing sighs of relief. The Murree Road has been opened from the Orchard Scheme in Islamabad to the Faizabad interchange between the two cities. Barricades on Islamabad Expressway at Kak Pul have also been removed. Authorities were also opening the roads leading to the IJP Road, Sadaqat Ali reported citing a spokesman. The Islamabad-Rawalpindi administration had closed several roads on Friday to prevent the TLP protesters from entering the twin cities. Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, during a televised press briefing Sunday, ordered the Islamabad IG to remove the containers to the roadsides, saying "mothers call me to say that children have to go to schools" and people need to visit hospitals. As the traffic flowed back to normal, citizens breathed a sigh of relief. "We are thankful that we have left home. At least we will be able to earn some bread for our children now," one person said speaking to SAMAA TV. "It is not a good thing to close every road with police and containers," said another. Although roads have been opened elsewhere, at Faizabad and the Double Road containers stay in place. Additional police personnel from other districts have also been called in to deal with possible protests, while Rangers are present to assist, said Sadaqat Ali. Negotiations and march In an interview with SAMAA TV Sunday morning, Shaikh Rasheed Ahmed remarked that the talks with TLP will soon be successful. "They had three major demands regarding the expulsion of the French ambassador, release of arrested supporters, and the release of Saad Rizvi." The party's call on the French Embassy will be presented in the parliamentary committee. "Some people have been arrested without any reason and their names have been added in the fourth schedule," the minister pointed out. Rasheed hoped that the matter will be solved by Monday evening (October 25). "These people [TLP workers] will continue protests till Tuesday but the roads will stay open." Roads reopen for traffic. Photo: Online He later announced that the talks were moving ahead and that the government was to withdraw cases against the banned TLP. Protesters were at Muridke since Saturday night where they decided to make an overnight stop after travelling through Kala Shah Kaku earlier in the day. After the talks with the government, they agreed not to proceed to Islamabad. Contingency plans In Lahore, the authorities removed barricades opening roads for traffic on Saturday evening. They have also restored mobile phone services as the TLP march moved out from the city towards Islamabad. Gujranwala, meanwhile, prepared to deal with the situation. SAMAA TV reported that "trenches have been dug" at the GT Road near the River Chenab. Footage showed an excavator digging out the road. Administration places shipping containers to block the Faizabad Interchange to stop protesters marching on Islamabad. Photo: Online The interior ministry also ordered internet service to be suspended between Lahore and Gujrat, the TV said. Diversions were created in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. However, authorities opened most roads on Sunday. The interior ministry on Saturday wrote to chief secretaries in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Azad Kashmir to send police reinforcement, according to SAMAA. Each territory has been asked to send in 10,000 personnel, the TV said. What happened on Saturday As the TLP protesters continued to clash with the police and moved out of Lahore, the PTI government hammered out a policy to hold talks. The talks between the government and the banned TLP would be held in two stages, a meeting presided over by the interior minister decided in Lahore on Saturday evening. On Saturday afternoon, the federal government’s negotiation team, comprising Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri, and Minister for Kashmir Affairs Ali Amin Gandapur, arrived in Lahore with the aim to open talks with the protesting Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan. The members of the negotiation team and senior officials including Punjab's Chief Secretary, Inspector General, Additional Secretary Home, and Lahore's Commissioner attended the meeting at the office of the Punjab Safe Cities Authorities. They sought input from various institutions and it was agreed that in the first stage a two-member committee comprising a federal minister and a provincial minister would go to Kot Lakhpat Jail to hold negotiations with the banned TLP Chief Saad Rizvi, who was arrested in April this year, official sources told SAMAA. Other members of the banned outfit's shura, or high council, could also be called in to join the negotiations, the sources said. In the second stage, ulema's help would be enlisted to advance the talks, according to the sources. After making the decision, the government contacted Ulema-e-Ahle Sunnat and it was decided that a delegation of Ulema-e-Ahle Sunnat would meet Saad Rizvi with a message from the government, SAMAA TV reported. On October 23, PM Imran Khan called Qadri and asked him to fly to Lahore. Rasheed, too, was called back to Pakistan from Dubai. He was on vacation for the Pakistan-India T20 World Cup match.  Punjab's Raja Basharat and Chaudhry Zaheeruddin, who have been negotiating with the protesters on the behalf of Punjab government, briefed the federal government’s team about the developments that had taken place by then. TLP has, on the other hand, also announced that their negotiation team will be headed by Mufti Muhammad Wazir Ali.  A TLP spokesperson said that talks can only take place if the Punjab government becomes serious about it.  Doors for negotiation always open: TLP The doors for negotiations are always open, said banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) spokesperson and member of their core committee Pir Syed Sarwar Shah on Saturday. But for this, intentions have to be pure, he added. The government is attempting to sabotage the peaceful protests, he said. Shah said that the government will have to pay for the blood of unarmed workers. TLP has resumed its long march towards Islamabad after a brief stop at Lahore's Minar-e-Pakistan. #TLPDharna pic.twitter.com/uxZhJI7pHB— Roohan Ahmed (@Roohan_Ahmed) October 23, 2021 No one can deprive us of our legal and constitutional rights, he said. TLP supporters have started marching towards Lahore’s Shahdara, which has been blocked by the police. TLP claims three of their supporters killed in clashes A TLP spokesperson claimed that three of their supporters were killed in the clashes with the law enforcers on Saturday. We will take the bodies to Islamabad with the long march, he said. TLP claims three of its workers were killed and hundreds injured in the protest. Photo: Online This information could not be verified independently as the police and rescue officials haven’t shared any such information. A video, however, shows a body on the ground where TLP workers providing first aid to injured workers. Friday: Three policemen killed Three policemen were killed and multiple injured in a clash with TLP supporters on Lahore Friday evening, according to Punjab police. A statement released by the police revealed that the police officers were stationed near the Katcheri Chowk. They were hit by a TLP vehicle, a spokesperson of the Punjab police said. Two of the martyrs have been identified as constables Muhammad Ayub and Khalid Javed. "Six policemen were injured in the clashes as well," the spokesperson added. A clash was reported between TLP workers and police Friday. Photos: Online An additional contingent of police officers has been deployed at the protest site. The police are trying to disperse the crowd. Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, condemning the attack, has offered condolences to the grieving families. He has instructed the police to identify the culprits and immediately take action against them. "Rule of law must be ensured at all costs." The chief minister has also promised the best health care for injured policemen. Meanwhile, a TLP media coordinator said that authorities fired tear gas at protesters near a police checkpoint. According to DAWN, a TLP spokesperson said that workers had to endure the "worst shelling in history" and were "attacked from all sides" near the Mao College Pul. He added that 500 workers were seriously injured, while 15 were in serious condition. No further dialogues In a statement, the banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan announced no further dialogues with the government. “Now, only the TLP chief [Saad Rizvi] will lead the negotiations,” the statement said. Blockage of Internet The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority blocked the internet services “within a radius of 5kms” from the protest sites. Data Sahib, Shahdara, New and Old Ravi area to face the blockage. Services to remain suspended until further notice, the notification read. Protesters begin long march on Islamabad The banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan started marching on Islamabad Friday afternoon to force the government to release the founder's heir, Saad Rizvi. The TLP had been staging a sit-in on Multan Road, Lahore for the last two days. Hundreds of TLP workers march on Islamabad demanding the release of Saad Rizvi. Photos: SAMAA TV The party’s central council had been demanding the government release Saad Hussain Rizvi, the chief of the defunct TLP. He was arrested earlier in the year for inciting violence. A large number of party members took part in the sit-in. The party council members say that they have been protesting peacefully for 15 days but have not received much reaction. The government has repeatedly turned its back on the agreement, they said. The TLP had given the government till Thursday evening to release Saad Rizvi or they said they would make an announcement of a plan of action. A stage was set in front of the TLP headquarters at Multan Road in Lahore where 200 to 250 members turned up. An additional 400 to 500 members are said to be inside and around the centre. A heavy contingent of police is outside the TLP center. There’s, however, no restriction of movement, and workers can easily enter and leave the headquarter. Mobile and internet services are blocked in the area. Earlier, the party had announced that the march will start after Friday prayers. The party was hopeful negotiations with the Punjab government will be successful. The central committee members were supposed to meet the government representatives before Friday prayers. A spokesperson of TLP’s central committee told SAMAA Digital that the party has a "Plan B" if the government tries to stop them from entering Islamabad. "It will be revealed when the time comes," he said on the condition of anonymity. Which roads are blocked by the TLP protest? Lahore Multan Road has been closed from all sides near the stage, including Fawara Chowk, Shah Noor Scheme cut, Utility Store Scheme cut, Shah Farid. All routes from Yateem Khana Chowk have been closed by containers. Roads from Kali Kothi, Iqbal Town, Scheme Moor, Sodiwal, Niazi Ada, and Samanabad have been sealed with barbed wire and containers. TLP protestors carrying sticks have set up at all the closed points and protest areas. Road from Saggian Bridge to Double Sarkaran have been blocked by placing containers. Road from Begum Court to Shahdara is also closed. Shahdar Chowk is also closed for traffic going to Gujranwala Islamabad and Rawalpindi The diversion has been given from Stadium Road Rawalpindi to Ninth Avenue signal. The traffic coming from Ninth Avenue and Faizabad to Rawalpindi will be diverted to IJP Road. Faizul Islam stop and Murree Road are closed from both sides. The traffic coming from Islamabad to Murree Road Rawalpindi can use the Islamabad Highway route. Jinnah Avenue is closed on both sides from Express Chowk to D Chowk. People can use Nadra Chowk and Ayub Chowk to enter and exit the red zone. On Friday, the Rawalpindi metro bus service remain closed from Saddar to the IJP. It will work from IJP to Pak Secretariat. Agreement between the TLP and the government On April 20, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed said in a video message that the long negotiations between the government and TLP had been successful. He said the government has accepted the TLP’s demand and tabled a resolution on the expulsion of the French ambassador. It has also ordered the release of TLP chief Saad Hussain Rizvi and arrested workers. A day later, on April 21, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcast Fawad Chaudhry tweeted that the agreement between the government and the TLP has been successful. The arrested TLP workers have been released by the government and protests in the country have ended. Prime Minister Imran Khan's argument Before the agreement, on April 19 PM Khan explained how his government’s method was different from the TLP's. He was addressing the nation. “The goal is the same,” he said. “No one should dare insult Him (PBUH).” The prime minister said all Muslim countries would have to convey their concerns to the West. "If all Muslim states said this together, then this would have an impact." “Would sending the French ambassador back and severing ties with them stop all of this,” he asked. “Is there any guarantee that no one would blaspheme against Him (PBUH) after that?" PM Khan said when Muslims stage street demonstrations, the West considers it a protest against the freedom of expression. The premier said coronavirus patients could not get oxygen because of road blockades and public property worth millions was gutted. Pakistan upholds TLP ban, its electoral symbol cancelled The federal government had formally proscribed the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan for engaging in terrorism and creating a sense of fear and insecurity in the country. The party had been proscribed under section 11B (1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. It empowers the government to ban an organisation involved in terrorism. The party had submitted a petition against the ban. It was decided that the ban was “based on facts and merit”. The party members had attacked policemen, tortured them, and killed law enforcers; they even damaged public property. The Election Commission of Pakistan accepted the government's petition and cancelled the outlawed group’s electoral symbol, a crane. These steps are being taken under the anti-terrorism act. The TLP had received more than 2.2 million votes in the 2018 general elections and it has three members in the Sindh Assembly. From Faizabad to Faiz Hameed When the TLP was staging a protest at Faizabad, there was an impression among the public that the government and state institutions were not on the same page. Despite this, an agreement was reached with the TLP. Incumbent DG ISI Lt General Faiz Hameed was one of the signatories to the 2017 agreement signed between the government and the TLP. How did the TLP protests start? In November last year, the TLP staged a protest against the re-publication of sacrilegious caricature by French magazine Charlie Hebdo and French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to defend it. The protest ended after the government and the TLP entered an agreement. In early February 2021, the TLP again gave the government a deadline to expel the French ambassador and boycott their products by February 16. However, the protest was called off after both parties reached an agreement on February 11. Ghulam Ghous, Dr Muhamad Shafeeq, Ghulam Abbas and Muhammad Umair represented the TLP while Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri and Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed were from the government's side. The TLP had demanded that their leaders and workers whose names have been put on the Fourth Schedule, be cleared. According to the agreement, the government will present the agreement in Parliament by April and the prime minister would announce it. Prime Minister Imran Khan had promised take up the matter in Parliament. The matter dragged on unresolved, however, and the TLP ended up deciding to stage protests across the country. On April 19, religious leaders called for a country-wide protest against a police crackdown on TLP workers. PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, business communities and lawyers associations in many cities supported the strike call.
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Authorities in Rawalpindi and Islamabad have removed barricades and opened roads that were closed to stop a “long march” by the proscribed Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP). The development comes after Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed said that there was progress in the negotiations with the TLP regarding the release of their founder’s heir Saad Rizvi.

The TLP protesters have stopped at Muridke, before Gujranawala, after reaching an understanding with the government as the talks continue.

Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noor-ul-Haq Qadri has ruled out the possibility of more clashes between the police and TLP activists.


Roads open in Islamabad-Rawalpindi

Traffic has now resumed to normal in the twin cities with citizens expressing sighs of relief.

The Murree Road has been opened from the Orchard Scheme in Islamabad to the Faizabad interchange between the two cities. Barricades on Islamabad Expressway at Kak Pul have also been removed. Authorities were also opening the roads leading to the IJP Road, Sadaqat Ali reported citing a spokesman.

The Islamabad-Rawalpindi administration had closed several roads on Friday to prevent the TLP protesters from entering the twin cities.

Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, during a televised press briefing Sunday, ordered the Islamabad IG to remove the containers to the roadsides, saying “mothers call me to say that children have to go to schools” and people need to visit hospitals.

As the traffic flowed back to normal, citizens breathed a sigh of relief. “We are thankful that we have left home. At least we will be able to earn some bread for our children now,” one person said speaking to SAMAA TV.

“It is not a good thing to close every road with police and containers,” said another.

Although roads have been opened elsewhere, at Faizabad and the Double Road containers stay in place.

Additional police personnel from other districts have also been called in to deal with possible protests, while Rangers are present to assist, said Sadaqat Ali.


Negotiations and march

In an interview with SAMAA TV Sunday morning, Shaikh Rasheed Ahmed remarked that the talks with TLP will soon be successful. “They had three major demands regarding the expulsion of the French ambassador, release of arrested supporters, and the release of Saad Rizvi.”

The party’s call on the French Embassy will be presented in the parliamentary committee. “Some people have been arrested without any reason and their names have been added in the fourth schedule,” the minister pointed out.

Rasheed hoped that the matter will be solved by Monday evening (October 25). “These people [TLP workers] will continue protests till Tuesday but the roads will stay open.”

TLP-protest
Roads reopen for traffic. Photo: Online

He later announced that the talks were moving ahead and that the government was to withdraw cases against the banned TLP.

Protesters were at Muridke since Saturday night where they decided to make an overnight stop after travelling through Kala Shah Kaku earlier in the day. After the talks with the government, they agreed not to proceed to Islamabad.

Contingency plans

In Lahore, the authorities removed barricades opening roads for traffic on Saturday evening. They have also restored mobile phone services as the TLP march moved out from the city towards Islamabad.

Gujranwala, meanwhile, prepared to deal with the situation. SAMAA TV reported that “trenches have been dug” at the GT Road near the River Chenab. Footage showed an excavator digging out the road.

TLP-protest
Administration places shipping containers to block the Faizabad Interchange to stop protesters marching on Islamabad. Photo: Online

The interior ministry also ordered internet service to be suspended between Lahore and Gujrat, the TV said.

Diversions were created in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. However, authorities opened most roads on Sunday.

The interior ministry on Saturday wrote to chief secretaries in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Azad Kashmir to send police reinforcement, according to SAMAA. Each territory has been asked to send in 10,000 personnel, the TV said.


What happened on Saturday

As the TLP protesters continued to clash with the police and moved out of Lahore, the PTI government hammered out a policy to hold talks.

The talks between the government and the banned TLP would be held in two stages, a meeting presided over by the interior minister decided in Lahore on Saturday evening.

On Saturday afternoon, the federal government’s negotiation team, comprising Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri, and Minister for Kashmir Affairs Ali Amin Gandapur, arrived in Lahore with the aim to open talks with the protesting Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan.

The members of the negotiation team and senior officials including Punjab’s Chief Secretary, Inspector General, Additional Secretary Home, and Lahore’s Commissioner attended the meeting at the office of the Punjab Safe Cities Authorities.

They sought input from various institutions and it was agreed that in the first stage a two-member committee comprising a federal minister and a provincial minister would go to Kot Lakhpat Jail to hold negotiations with the banned TLP Chief Saad Rizvi, who was arrested in April this year, official sources told SAMAA.

Other members of the banned outfit’s shura, or high council, could also be called in to join the negotiations, the sources said.

In the second stage, ulema’s help would be enlisted to advance the talks, according to the sources.

After making the decision, the government contacted Ulema-e-Ahle Sunnat and it was decided that a delegation of Ulema-e-Ahle Sunnat would meet Saad Rizvi with a message from the government, SAMAA TV reported.

On October 23, PM Imran Khan called Qadri and asked him to fly to Lahore. Rasheed, too, was called back to Pakistan from Dubai. He was on vacation for the Pakistan-India T20 World Cup match. 

Punjab’s Raja Basharat and Chaudhry Zaheeruddin, who have been negotiating with the protesters on the behalf of Punjab government, briefed the federal government’s team about the developments that had taken place by then.

TLP has, on the other hand, also announced that their negotiation team will be headed by Mufti Muhammad Wazir Ali. 

A TLP spokesperson said that talks can only take place if the Punjab government becomes serious about it. 


Doors for negotiation always open: TLP

The doors for negotiations are always open, said banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) spokesperson and member of their core committee Pir Syed Sarwar Shah on Saturday. But for this, intentions have to be pure, he added.

The government is attempting to sabotage the peaceful protests, he said. Shah said that the government will have to pay for the blood of unarmed workers.

No one can deprive us of our legal and constitutional rights, he said.

TLP supporters have started marching towards Lahore’s Shahdara, which has been blocked by the police.


TLP claims three of their supporters killed in clashes

A TLP spokesperson claimed that three of their supporters were killed in the clashes with the law enforcers on Saturday. We will take the bodies to Islamabad with the long march, he said.

TLP says three of their men were killed in clasghed witht the law enforcers,
TLP claims three of its workers were killed and hundreds injured in the protest. Photo: Online

This information could not be verified independently as the police and rescue officials haven’t shared any such information.

A video, however, shows a body on the ground where TLP workers providing first aid to injured workers.


Friday: Three policemen killed

Three policemen were killed and multiple injured in a clash with TLP supporters on Lahore Friday evening, according to Punjab police.

A statement released by the police revealed that the police officers were stationed near the Katcheri Chowk. They were hit by a TLP vehicle, a spokesperson of the Punjab police said.

Two of the martyrs have been identified as constables Muhammad Ayub and Khalid Javed. “Six policemen were injured in the clashes as well,” the spokesperson added.

An additional contingent of police officers has been deployed at the protest site. The police are trying to disperse the crowd.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, condemning the attack, has offered condolences to the grieving families. He has instructed the police to identify the culprits and immediately take action against them. “Rule of law must be ensured at all costs.”

The chief minister has also promised the best health care for injured policemen.

Meanwhile, a TLP media coordinator said that authorities fired tear gas at protesters near a police checkpoint.

According to DAWN, a TLP spokesperson said that workers had to endure the “worst shelling in history” and were “attacked from all sides” near the Mao College Pul. He added that 500 workers were seriously injured, while 15 were in serious condition.


No further dialogues

In a statement, the banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan announced no further dialogues with the government. “Now, only the TLP chief [Saad Rizvi] will lead the negotiations,” the statement said.


Blockage of Internet

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority blocked the internet services “within a radius of 5kms” from the protest sites. Data Sahib, Shahdara, New and Old Ravi area to face the blockage.

Services to remain suspended until further notice, the notification read.


Protesters begin long march on Islamabad

The banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan started marching on Islamabad Friday afternoon to force the government to release the founder’s heir, Saad Rizvi.

The TLP had been staging a sit-in on Multan Road, Lahore for the last two days.

The party’s central council had been demanding the government release Saad Hussain Rizvi, the chief of the defunct TLP. He was arrested earlier in the year for inciting violence.

A large number of party members took part in the sit-in. The party council members say that they have been protesting peacefully for 15 days but have not received much reaction. The government has repeatedly turned its back on the agreement, they said.

The TLP had given the government till Thursday evening to release Saad Rizvi or they said they would make an announcement of a plan of action.

A stage was set in front of the TLP headquarters at Multan Road in Lahore where 200 to 250 members turned up. An additional 400 to 500 members are said to be inside and around the centre. A heavy contingent of police is outside the TLP center. There’s, however, no restriction of movement, and workers can easily enter and leave the headquarter. Mobile and internet services are blocked in the area.

Earlier, the party had announced that the march will start after Friday prayers. The party was hopeful negotiations with the Punjab government will be successful. The central committee members were supposed to meet the government representatives before Friday prayers.

A spokesperson of TLP’s central committee told SAMAA Digital that the party has a “Plan B” if the government tries to stop them from entering Islamabad. “It will be revealed when the time comes,” he said on the condition of anonymity.


Which roads are blocked by the TLP protest?

Lahore

Multan Road has been closed from all sides near the stage, including Fawara Chowk, Shah Noor Scheme cut, Utility Store Scheme cut, Shah Farid.

All routes from Yateem Khana Chowk have been closed by containers.

Roads from Kali Kothi, Iqbal Town, Scheme Moor, Sodiwal, Niazi Ada, and Samanabad have been sealed with barbed wire and containers.

TLP protestors carrying sticks have set up at all the closed points and protest areas.

Road from Saggian Bridge to Double Sarkaran have been blocked by placing containers.

Road from Begum Court to Shahdara is also closed.

Shahdar Chowk is also closed for traffic going to Gujranwala

TLP protest long march Lahore roads blocked

Islamabad and Rawalpindi

The diversion has been given from Stadium Road Rawalpindi to Ninth Avenue signal. The traffic coming from Ninth Avenue and Faizabad to Rawalpindi will be diverted to IJP Road.

Faizul Islam stop and Murree Road are closed from both sides. The traffic coming from Islamabad to Murree Road Rawalpindi can use the Islamabad Highway route.

Jinnah Avenue is closed on both sides from Express Chowk to D Chowk. People can use Nadra Chowk and Ayub Chowk to enter and exit the red zone.

On Friday, the Rawalpindi metro bus service remain closed from Saddar to the IJP. It will work from IJP to Pak Secretariat.


Agreement between the TLP and the government

On April 20, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed said in a video message that the long negotiations between the government and TLP had been successful.

He said the government has accepted the TLP’s demand and tabled a resolution on the expulsion of the French ambassador. It has also ordered the release of TLP chief Saad Hussain Rizvi and arrested workers.

A day later, on April 21, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcast Fawad Chaudhry tweeted that the agreement between the government and the TLP has been successful. The arrested TLP workers have been released by the government and protests in the country have ended.

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s argument

Before the agreement, on April 19 PM Khan explained how his government’s method was different from the TLP’s. He was addressing the nation. “The goal is the same,” he said. “No one should dare insult Him (PBUH).”

The prime minister said all Muslim countries would have to convey their concerns to the West. “If all Muslim states said this together, then this would have an impact.”

“Would sending the French ambassador back and severing ties with them stop all of this,” he asked. “Is there any guarantee that no one would blaspheme against Him (PBUH) after that?”

PM Khan said when Muslims stage street demonstrations, the West considers it a protest against the freedom of expression.

The premier said coronavirus patients could not get oxygen because of road blockades and public property worth millions was gutted.

Pakistan upholds TLP ban, its electoral symbol cancelled

The federal government had formally proscribed the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan for engaging in terrorism and creating a sense of fear and insecurity in the country. The party had been proscribed under section 11B (1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. It empowers the government to ban an organisation involved in terrorism.

The party had submitted a petition against the ban. It was decided that the ban was “based on facts and merit”. The party members had attacked policemen, tortured them, and killed law enforcers; they even damaged public property.

The Election Commission of Pakistan accepted the government’s petition and cancelled the outlawed group’s electoral symbol, a crane.

These steps are being taken under the anti-terrorism act.

The TLP had received more than 2.2 million votes in the 2018 general elections and it has three members in the Sindh Assembly.

From Faizabad to Faiz Hameed

When the TLP was staging a protest at Faizabad, there was an impression among the public that the government and state institutions were not on the same page. Despite this, an agreement was reached with the TLP.

Incumbent DG ISI Lt General Faiz Hameed was one of the signatories to the 2017 agreement signed between the government and the TLP.

How did the TLP protests start?

In November last year, the TLP staged a protest against the re-publication of sacrilegious caricature by French magazine Charlie Hebdo and French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to defend it. The protest ended after the government and the TLP entered an agreement.

In early February 2021, the TLP again gave the government a deadline to expel the French ambassador and boycott their products by February 16.

However, the protest was called off after both parties reached an agreement on February 11. Ghulam Ghous, Dr Muhamad Shafeeq, Ghulam Abbas and Muhammad Umair represented the TLP while Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri and Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed were from the government’s side.

The TLP had demanded that their leaders and workers whose names have been put on the Fourth Schedule, be cleared. According to the agreement, the government will present the agreement in Parliament by April and the prime minister would announce it.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had promised take up the matter in Parliament. The matter dragged on unresolved, however, and the TLP ended up deciding to stage protests across the country.

On April 19, religious leaders called for a country-wide protest against a police crackdown on TLP workers.

PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, business communities and lawyers associations in many cities supported the strike call.

 
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2 Comments

  1. Labbaik  October 23, 2021 6:31 am/ Reply

    It was police vehicle which killed police officers

  2. MaxoBom  October 24, 2021 8:48 am/ Reply

    They are protesting for there there right

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