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Tuesday November 30, 2021

PM Imran Khan convenes National Security Committee meeting

Fawad Chaudhry says meeting called to review the situation created by the unlawful activities of the proscribed outfit

By Azaz Syed
October 28, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan. Photo: AFP
Prime Minister Imran Khan. Photo: AFP

ISLAMABAD:  Prime Minister Imran Khan has convened a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) tomorrow (Friday) to discuss the current situation owing to the proscribed  Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP)-led protests in the country.

The news was announced by Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry in a Twitter post. 

"In view of the situation arising because of the illegal activities of the proscribed organisation, Prime Minister Imran Khan has convened a meeting of the National Security Committee tomorrow. Other issues related to national security will also be considered in this meeting," Fawad wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the protests led by the members of the proscribed group entered their seventh day today (Thursday), with demonstrators camping out in Kamoke since last night.

Initially, the proscribed group staged sit-ins in Multan and Lahore, after which they announced a march towards Islamabad.

Major roads had been cordoned off by the security forces in order to prevent the protesters from reaching Islamabad. The protesters have been staging sit-ins on GT Road for the past several days, disrupting transport services.

TLP's march has affected life in the federal capital and various other cities in Punjab.

Strict security arrangements have been made in Rawalpindi. The main highways connecting Islamabad and Rawalpindi have been sealed and the Faizabad Metro service has been suspended. Major traffic jams have been reported on alternative routes and citizens are facing difficulties as it has also become difficult to go to hospitals.

The activists of the proscribed organisation marching towards Islamabad have set up camp on the Kamoke portion of GT Road, while they are making preparations to move ahead in their march. Business centres in the city and on GT Road are closed and so are the shops and restaurants on the highway.

Public and private educational institutions located on GT Road and its adjoining areas have also been closed and internet services in Kamoke have been suspended.

Five cops killed in clashes

The Pakistan government announced a day earlier its decision to treat the proscribed TLP as a militant organisation, with Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed sharing that the government had summoned the Punjab Rangers to maintain the law and order situation for two months in the province amid the ongoing protests.

Speaking during a press conference in Islamabad, the interior minister had said that the government wants to establish peace as there is a lot of international pressure on Pakistan.

"We have decided to summon the Rangers for a period of 60 days to maintain law and order situation in the province," Rasheed had said. "Like Karachi, Rangers have been called in Punjab under Section 4 (2) of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, read with Article 147 of the Constitution of Pakistan."

Three more policemen were martyred in the protest yesterday, while many policemen were also injured in the violence.

So far, since the start of the TLP protest, five policemen have lost their lives to the violence and countless police vehicles have been set on fire by the protesters.

“TLP is receiving external support”

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar said during an appearance on Geo News programme Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath that the state tried to persuade the banned TLP through dialogue for a long time, but the group resorted to violence.

He said there was evidence that the TLP is receiving external support. The decisions taken by the government have been in consultation with the military.

Govt in talks with Saad Rizvi, other TLP leaders

Meanwhile, the ministry of interior is in talks with the proscribed organisation, including its leader Saad Rizvi, who is currently imprisoned.

A spokesperson for the proscribed organisation said that Allama Ghulam Abbas Faizi and Mufti Umair Al-Azhari are also part of the delegation negotiating with the government.

The spokesman further said that the proscribed organisation stands by its demands that it will present before the government during the talks.

"Our only demand from day one is the removal of the French ambassador," said the spokesman.