Sunday May 19, 2024

Faizabad sit-in case: Shehbaz 'denies' receiving intel on TLP ban

Shehbaz, who led Punjab as CM in 2017, told commission that Faizabad sit-in was not expected at that time

By Shakeel Farman Ali
April 19, 2024
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif at an event. — Online
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif at an event. — Online

PESHAWAR: Former chief minister of Punjab Shehbaz Sharif has denied receiving any intelligence report about the ban on Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) when he was in power, adding that he did not know about the party's sit-in plan.

In his statement to the Faizabad dharna commission, probing the sit-in following its constitution on the Supreme Court's order, the now premier said that a cabinet sub-committee — comprising the provincial law minister and some other important provincial ministers — on peace was formed on matters of law and order in Punjab.

He added that the Faizabad sit-in was not expected at that time.

Shehbaz said that the district commissioner and commissioner Rawalpindi as well as the city police officer (CPO) and regional police officer (RPO) had received clear instructions from the sub-committee on peace and security.

The officers were instructed to provide all possible support to the Islamabad administration, then-CM Sharif told the probe commission.

He added that banning of an organisation is subject to strict criteria laid down in the Anti-Terrorism Act.

"The ban could have been imposed by the Ministry of Interior according to its mandate."

The former chief minister said that the use of force could have created a law and order situation in the country; therefore, political talks were being held with TLP leaders.

"It was agreed in the agreement between the TLP and the federal government that the cases against TLP leaders and workers will be withdrawn after legal procedures," said the ex-CM.

Earlier today, The News reported that former federal law minister Zahid Hamid was asked to resign from his ministerial post by the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) director general Lieutenant General (retd) Faiz Hamid when he met him during the Faizabad sit-in.

According to the ex-minister, who also gave a statement to the probe commission, junior officers of the ISI Lahore came to his house to take his resignation on November 26, 2017.

The probe commission was constituted on the Supreme Court's orders following the case pertaining to the 2017 sit-in protest at Faizabad led by former Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi.