Govt releases 82 more activists of proscribed group

PML-N calls for publicizing govt-TLP agreement, banned outfit’s sit-in continues in Wazirabad

Picture source - AP
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The government let go 82 more workers of the banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) on Wednesday, after the steering committee led by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhmmad Khan deliberated on their release.

Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat, federal home secretary and additional chief secretary Punjab have represented the government’s side, while Ghulam Ghaus Baghdadi and Mufti Hafeez Alvi have been a part of the steering committee on behalf of TLP.

Implementation of the government-TLP agreement started two days ago as the steering committee held its third meeting in Lahore on Wednesday, insiders said.

Some 2,150 workers of the banned outfit have been released so far, confirmed a TLP spokesperson Saddam Hussain, while talking to Minute Mirror.

The government, he said, would withdraw all the cases against TLP Chief Saad Hussain Rizvi and other leaders and workers of the group. However, he was tight-lipped about providing further details of the agreement signed between the two sides.

Leading cleric Mufti Muneebur Rehman was the guarantor of the agreement. The former Ruet-e-Hilal Committee chairman announced on Monday that the TLP had never demanded the expulsion of the French ambassador and the reports about it were mere propaganda. Mufti Rehman gave full credit of the agreement to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

According to unconfirmed reports, the government has agreed to lift the ban on the outlawed Barelvi organization and would allow it to contest elections and take part in other political activities.

Sources said the government was also willing to withdraw its appeal in the Lahore High Court (LHC) to keep Rizvi detained. Some 98 cases were registered against the son of the outspoken late TLP leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi, sources said.

Furthermore, the TLP activists continued their sit-in at Wazirabad and announced they wouldn’t leave the site until the fulfilment of the commitments made by the government in the agreement.

The Rangers and the police deployed on the Chenab River Bridge and the barricades and other blockades have still not been removed.

Train service also resumed from Lahore to northbound destinations, but the heavy vehicles and buses were not allowed to pass the bridge on the Grand Trunk (GT) Road from Wazirabad to Gujrat and other cities, as per local TV reports.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson Maryam Aurangzeb has said that the details of the govt-TLP agreement must be made public. Talking to media on Wednesday, she said the government could not keep the agreement with the TLP secret and the people of Pakistan wanted to know the details. She held PTI responsible for the chaos and declared the government incompetent and incapable.

Iftikhar Alam is a correspondent writing on religion, politics, agriculture, and energy. He takes people on a rich journey through the culture of Punjab. He tweets @imiftikharalam and can be reached at iftikharalam@live.com.