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Pakistan plans to lift ban on proscribed TLP

LAHORE – The Punjab home department has suggested the Chief Minister to lift the ban on Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in the aftermath of a secret agreement between the government committee and the banned outfit.

Reports in local media said the administration has started the process to remove the banned organisation’s status. After approval of the summary from the Punjab CM Buzdar and cabinet, the recommendation will be forwarded to the federal government for the final nod.

The recent development came amid secrecy about the details of the arrangement.

The PTI government had banned the religio-political party after its protests turned violent earlier in April, designated it a terrorist group, and arrested its chief Saad Rizvi.

In compliance with a secret accord, the government in the country’s most populous province has decided to remove the names of around a hundred activists of the proscribed party from the Fourth Schedule. The decision was taken during a meeting chaired by Punjab Law Minister in the provincial capital. Officials also decided to release TLP activists from different jails.

Earlier, a senior TLP leader said the government had released over 1,000 supporters and would free more than 1,000 as well as drop all criminal charges against them under the ‘peace agreement’.

PTI ‘to welcome’ TLP joining mainstream politics

Meanwhile, Minister of State, Ali Muhammad Khan, said the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party would welcome the banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) religious-political group into mainstream politics.

Speaking on a television show, he said government representatives told TLP members that they should join mainstream politics and become a major political party in the South Asian country, he said while adding that TLP has a major following.

On the other hand, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, speaking from a presser, said that TLP chief Saad Rizvi insisted on the closure of the French embassy in his talks with the interior minister – contrary to what Mufti Muneeb and other members said earlier.

However, he refused to share further details as according to him Prime Minister Imran Khan instructed only one minister to speak on the TLP issue to avoid disputed version.

The comments of the key government member came after former Ruet Chairman Mufti Muneebur Rehman said TLP never demanded the expulsion of the French envoy and the closure of the embassy.

The recent development started after the 12th of Rabiul Awwal, when TLP staged rallies to exert pressure on the Punjab government for the release of its Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi, who has been kept in detention by the Punjab government since April 12.

The charged activists of the party also announced to march on the country’s federal capital, prompting the government to block the routes leading to Islamabad.

More than five law enforcement personnel embraced martyred and scores from both sides were injured in the recent events.

Prior to the recent development, the first agreement that the TLP signed with the ousted government of Nawaz Sharif in late 2017 was against some specific changes in the country’s electoral laws.

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