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Govt to withdraw cases against TLP, says Rasheed

ISLAMABAD: The government will be withdrawing cases against workers of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan by coming Tuesday, Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed has revealed. The protests will continue until then.

“We will also oversee the charges imposed under the 4th schedule,” he said in a press conference here Sunday.

According to the National Counter Terrorism Authority, an individual about whom either there is credible intelligence information or who has a history of being linked to a banned organisation can be proscribed by the Home Department of a province and can be subjected to restrictions on travel, speech, and business, under the Anti Terrorism Act, 1997.

TLP supporters have been on the roads in Lahore and Rawalpindi since Thursday. On Friday, they began marching on Islamabad, demanding the release of the party’s heir Saad Rizvi.

Rasheed, after eight-hour-long negotiations with the banned party, said that on Monday (October 25), TLP leaders will visit the interior ministry. He has told the district administrations of Rawalpindi and Islamabad to remove barricades from the roads.

“The protesters have decided to stay at Muridke till Tuesday [October 26].”

The minister added that he had a one-on-one conversation with Saad Rizvi and the negotiations turned out to be successful.

Earlier in the day, the TLP has put forward three demands: the release of Saad Rizvi, release of arrested TLP workers, and expulsion of the French ambassador.

“The French ambassador is not in Pakistan presently. But we have assured the party that their demand will be taken to the National Assembly.”

The minister added that under no circumstances does the government want to go against religious parties.

Rasheed was called back to Pakistan from Dubai by Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday. A government team, comprising Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri, Rasheed, and Kashmir Affairs Minister Ali Amin Gandapur, has been talking negotiating with TLP.

The protesters were at Muridke on Saturday night to make an overnight stop after travelling through Kala Shah Kaku earlier in the day. Authorities in Lahore opened all roads and restored cellular phone services when the march left the city.

Three police officers were martyred and dozens injured in a clash with TLP supporters Friday. 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.

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

This information could not be verified independently as the police and rescue officials haven’t shared any such information. The banned organisation began marching on Islamabad Friday. The party’s central council been demanding the government release Saad Hussain Rizvi, the chief of the defunct TLP. He was arrested earlier in the year for inciting violence.

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