Govt’s accord with banned group ‘insults’ martyrs: Civil society

Government refuses to furbish details of agreement with proscribed outfit, says accord beneficial for all

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Calls for transparency have taken force after the government announced that negotiations with banned outfit Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) had ended fruitfully, without revealing details of the agreement reached.

Mufti Muneebur Rehman in a press conference on Sunday, apprised the public that an agreement was reached with the TLP for the betterment of all involved. Rehman added that details of the agreement would be furbished at a later ‘appropriate time’. Also present at the presser, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that there would be no interactive session with journalists at the end of the government’s statement on the matter.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokar said that citizens had the right to know about that agreement that would seemingly put an end to the weeks long protest that held many regions hostage in the country. Khokar pressed that it must be answered whether policemen martyred in clashes with TLP workers had died in vain. He referred to the sit-in protest by Hazara community members in Quetta a few weeks ago, to which Prime Minister Imran Khan said he wouldn’t be ‘blackmailed’ by the people. Khokar said this situation was different as the state itself pandered to TLP. Khokar furthered that even a corner shop was not operated the way government had dealt with the TLP crisis.

Journalist Murtaza Solangi also commented on the government not answering to the people. Solangi said that Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had stated numerous times that government won’t submit to the TLP but now they refused to publicize details of the agreement.

Another journalist, Moeed Pirzada chimed in and said that the government had pandered to the TLP, which was allegedly funded by ‘RAW & other Indian sources’. Pirzada added that the government was making the agreement look like a ‘ceasefire with a sovereign state’.

Former member provincial assembly (MPA) Irum Azeem Farooque said that it was a ‘shame’ that the government entered into an agreement after officers were killed in the line of duty. Like Pirzada, she too alluded to the government’s shaky stance on TLP, saying that it had previously referred to TLP as an ‘Indian organization’ and recently decided to treat it like a ‘militant party’.

Lawyer Jibran Nasir invited media and other stakeholders to question the government on their stance. Nasir said that it was relevant to ask why TLP Chief Saad Hussain Rizvi was not being formally arrested as the leader of a banned outfit that was detrimental to Pakistan. Nasir said that policemen were martyred needlessly as the state’s dialogue was an ‘insult’ to their ‘sacrifices’.