Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry has said that the government has decided to treat the proscribed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) as a militant organisation and will ensure it met the fate as that of other terrorist organisations.
“A meeting led by Prime Minister Imran Khan was held yesterday, participated by the representative of intelligence and other relevant institutions,” the minister said while addressing a presser in Islamabad on Wednesday.
“A clear decision was made in the meeting not to treat the TLPas a political party at any cost and to treat it as a militant organization,” he added.
Fawad said that all other institutions, including the Election Commission of Pakistan, should play their role and treat the organisation in a similar way.
The TLP, he added, is supported by Indian accounts and it is a militant and violent group. “Its demands and attack on the state are unacceptable.”
The minister maintained that only the state has the right to resort to physical means, saying “challenging the writ of the state is unacceptable”.
“We have so far exhibited restraint and have not stopped any civilian,” he said, adding, “We have not resorted to the use of power against the TLP.”
The minister further warned those “spreading fake news on YouTube and other platforms of social media pertaining to the organisation”.
“Such people also comprise persons from the media industry. We are asking you to drop the culture of fake news or we will come down hard on you.”
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The minister recalled that six police personnel were martyred while more than 700 others were injured in clashes with the TLP workers last time.
“Now, in the span of just two days, three cops have been martyred while more than 49 are injured,” he added.
He stated that it was a matter of lives and the integrity of the people of Pakistan and “we will go to all extents in ensuring the same”.
“Do not complain to us later [when we resort to taking action],” he maintained.
“The TLP was first founded in 2015 and it has now made a practice of taking to the streets and blocking them. The state has limits to its restraint.”
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The federal minister also added that certain groups imposing their viewpoint could lead to the state’s elimination.
Citing the state’s treatment of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organisations, Fawad said no one should undermine the power of the state. “You cannot blackmail the state of Pakistan.”
He added: “Some leaders of this organisation won’t be affected by any potential unrest, they rather want it to take place.”
Electronic voting machines
The parliamentary affairs ministry is planning to write to the ECP to hold the next elections in Lahore through the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
“It is also being proposed to organise the forthcoming elections of the federal chamber of commerce and the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) through EVMs.”
Turning his guns towards Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Fawad termed it the responsibility of the provincial governments to control prices in their provinces.
He further said that the Cabinet has been provided with a comparative, province-wise analysis of prices of essential commodities.
“The prices of wheat, ghee and petrol in Pakistan are still the lowest compared to the other countries in the region,” he remarked.