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TLP’s long march turns into a sit-in as negotiations end in ‘success’

ISLAMABAD – Tensions started to ease out as the talks between the government and outlawed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) made headway on Sunday as confirmed by Interior minister Shiekh Rashid.

In a presser from Islamabad, Rashid said all closed roads will be opened till Tuesday as the talks with the religio-political party have reached a successful end and the violent agitators have decided to change their ‘long march’ towards the country’s federal capital into a sit-in.

He mentioned meeting one on one with detained TLP Chief Saad Rizvi. Rashid said they will take the matter of the French ambassador to the National Assembly.

Minister for Law Raja Basharat took to Twitter to announce that the round of talks between the two sides remained successful and the banned party will stage their sit-in on the road between Sheikhupura and Gujranwala.

Raja also mentioned that the closed highways and roads will be opened in Punjab.

Religious Affairs Minister Noor ul Haq Qadri, who was part of the committee for talks, revealed that the TLP leaders have assured the officials that their workers will not engage with the law enforcers.

Qadri also mentioned that agitators will continue their peaceful protests as of now and will end their protests till demands are fulfilled.

Following the high-ups’ meeting, the government agreed to take every step for maintaining peace in Islamabad and Punjab.

On Saturday, TLP Saturday formed a committee to hold peace talks. The development comes a day after deadly clashes broke out between the banned religious group and police in Lahore, claiming the lives of police personnel and injuring several others.

The TLP is protesting against the incarceration of its top leader Saad Rizvi and is seeking the expulsion of the French ambassador over caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that were published in France last year.

Saad Rizvi was arrested in Lahore in April for threatening the government with anti-France rallies. His detention was followed by violent demonstrations by TLP workers that resulted in the death of six policemen.

Announcing the three-member negotiations committee, the group said in a statement, “If the government is serious about negotiations, we can hold talks.” The committee consists of Mufti Muhammad Wazir Ali, Allama Ghulam Abbas Faizi, and Mufti Muhammad Umair.

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