Govt in talks with Saad Rizvi to call off TLP’s long march, says Rashid after NSC huddle


ISLAMABAD – Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said Friday that the talks were being held between the government and Saad Hussain Rizvi, the detained leader of the proscribed Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), to persuade the former to call off party’s long march towards Islamabad.

Talking to the media after a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan to review the prevailing security situation in the country, he said that doors for talks with TLP are always opened.

He said that the government wanted to resolve the issues amicably, besides protecting the lives and property of common citizens.

He said that Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noor-ul-Haq Qadri will hold talks with the proscribed TLP again.

The NSC meeting continued for two hours and it was attended by the top civil and military leadership, including all services and intelligence chiefs.

A day earlier, Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry has made it clear that the government will not hold talks with the proscribed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan unless its protesting workers vacate streets and hand over those responsible for the deaths of the police personnel to authorities.

“We have made it clear that there will be no talks unless the workers of the proscribed party clear the roads and hand over those involved in the martyrdom of police personnel to the institutions,” the federal minister wrote on his official Twitter handle on Thursday.

The minister went on to urge “patriot” Pakistanis to distance themselves from the protest, advising them to “return to their homes and not become a part of terrorism against the state”.

Meanwhile, thousands of supporters of the banned outfit entered Gujranwala city as they continued their march towards the federal capital, disrupting routine life along the route of the rally and creating severe difficulties for the masses.

In view of the circumstances, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has given a free hand to law enforcement agencies to deal with the TLP protests with an iron fist.

Presiding over a high-level meeting, CM Buzdar directed LEAs to take all possible measures to maintain the law and order situation in the province.

He underscored that the government could not allow anyone to play with the lives and properties of citizens and it is the responsibility of the government to maintain law and order and protect public property and the government will fulfil its responsibility in all circumstances.

At least five police officials have been martyred in clashes against the banned organisation since October 27. Another official who was injured yesterday succumbed to his injuries Thursday.

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