Observer Report Karachi
Mufti Muneebur Rehman dispelled on Monday the impression that the proscribed Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan had demanded the expulsion of the French ambassador and the closure of the embassy.
“Lies were spoken on television about the talks [with the TLP], that they had demanded the expulsion of the French ambassador, the closure of the embassy and to break ties with the European Union. This was a blatant lie,” the cleric said during a press conference in Karachi.
“So how can trust be established when government officials speak lies publicly?” he questioned, adding that those who participated in the negotiations did not have personal agendas and were patriots, calling the whole process a “marathon intellectual exercise”.
Mufti Muneeb was among the clerics who facilitated talks between the government and the proscribed group, helping both sides reach an agreement after an impasse of three weeks.
He further said the country’s “liberals” were more incensed than Pakistan’s external enemies over the government’s recent agreement with the TLP.
He was responding to a question from a reporter about Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry’s statement that there was “at least some good news” after India lost to New Zealand during the ongoing T20 World Cup.
Asked whether ministers that the negotiating team had objected to were included in the negotiations, the cleric shook his head. “When we went, you should understand the implication.”
He also stated that the “liberals” who were instigating the government, would be the first ones to jump ship when faced with choppy waters. “We’ve seen them before in one ship, then another and now in this ship.”
The cleric said that liberals were crying about the writ of the state, similar to what had happened during the Lal Masjid operation in 2007.
“Till 12 at night they talked about the writ of the state, but when the unfortunate operation took place they opposed it,” he said, branding such people as the enemies of the government.
The cleric’s comments come a day after members of the negotiating team from the government side claimed.