Rangers deployed in Punjab for two months amid TLP protests

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ISLAMABAD – Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed announced on Wednesday that Rangers troops will be deployed across Punjab province for the period of two months to maintain the law and order situation.

He made the announcement during a press conference amid protests by the proscribed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

Sheikh Rasih said that the rangers troops have been called in under Article 147, adding that three policemen were martyred so far in clashes with the protesters of the banned organisation.

He said that the French envoy to Pakistan is not currently in the country, adding that TLP was pursuing some other agenda.

“We have clearly told them [TLP] that French ambassador cannot be ousted,” said the interior minister.

He said that the Punjab government can deploy rangers across the province where it feels needed.

On the other hand, authorities have started taking preemptive measures in the federal capital and Rawalpindi as the proscribed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) leadership announced that the protesters will head to Islamabad to press the government for their demands.

The district administrations of the twin cities have sealed all the major roads connecting the two cities before Wednesday dawn, while both sides of Murree Road have also been barricaded from Faizabad Interchange to Marir Chowk to prevent the protesters from entering the capital city.

The road between Faizabad and Chandni Chowk has also been closed while heavy contingent of security forces have been deployed to control any untoward situation.

Meanwhile, the city administration has also suspended the metro bus service in Rawalpindi for an unspecified period. The service will be available for people travelling from IJP Road to Islamabad secretariat.

On the other hand, Pakistan Railways has issued alternate route for Islamabad and Rawalpindi-destined trains due to the protest.

A day earlier, Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad had said that the government had reached an agreement with the banned  TLP, adding that all their demands have been accepted except the expulsion of the French envoy of shutting down the embassy.

Earlier today, the TLP leaders accused the interior minister of lying that matters between it and the government had been resolved.

He said that the no one has contacted TLP from the government side.

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