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Wednesday February 08, 2023

Efforts by govt, COAS make accord with TLP possible

Officials from the PTI government’s negotiating team held on Sunday a press conference to update the public about their talks with the proscribed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

By News Desk
November 01, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Officials from the PTI government’s negotiating team held on Sunday a press conference to update the public about their talks with the proscribed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser were present on behalf of the government at the press conference, while Mufti Muneebur Rehman was also present. Mufti Muneebur Rehman started the news conference held in Islamabad, saying talks with the banned TLP have been "successful" and that an "agreement" had been reached.

Details of the agreement, however, he said will be revealed at a "suitable time". He added that the positive outcomes of the agreement will be seen in the coming days. He said that the agreement reached with the government was not a victory or defeat of any individual, but a victory of Islam and Pakistan.

Saylani Welfare Trust Maulana Bashir Farooqi, who was also present in the press conference, credited Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa for the agreement and said his efforts made it possible.

Geo News reported while quoting sources that the TLP was expected to call off its sit-in protest on Sunday night. Sources said the proscribed organisation has agreed to call off its intended long march and sit-in protests, adding that it has also agreed to take part in mainstream politics in future.

The government, on the other hand, has agreed to release all arrested workers of the proscribed outfit while those who are in custody over terrorism and other serious offences will have to seek relief from the courts, sources said.

Mufti Muneebur Rehman has agreed to act as the TLP's guarantor while Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Asad Qaiser and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan have signed the agreement with the TLP on behalf of the government.

"The government of Pakistan and the TLP had a detailed discussion under the environment of mutual trust, and an agreement has been reached between the two sides," Rehman announced, clarifying that the talks did not take place under any duress or in an atmosphere of tension. He said that rationality had prevailed over sentimentalism and a consensus had been reached between the government and the banned TLP movement.

Mufti Muneebur Rehman shared that a steering committee has been constituted under the agreement which will be headed by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan, while Mufti Ghulam Ghous Baghdadi from TLP will join the committee. He said the committee will become active immediately.

He said that rationality had prevailed over sentimentalism and a consensus had been reached between the government and the banned TLP movement. Earlier, sources privy to the development had said that the activists of the banned organisation will first end their sit-in from the Grand Trunk Road (GT Road), under the agreement. Meanwhile, the government will complete the legal formalities to release the arrested workers of the TLP.

Well-placed sources had said that the successful round of talks was held Saturday night between the high-powered government team and the top leadership of the TLP. The sources said Bashir Farooqi, Aqeel Karim Dhedhi and Mufti Muneebur Rehman also held a meeting with COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Saturday to discuss the issue.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi briefly spoke after Mufti Muneebur Rehman, saying that it was decided in a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) that the talks with TLP should be given priority and that the problem should be dealt with wisely. Speaking about the agreement, Qureshi said that a path of peace and improvement had been found. He said damage to property and loss of life was seen in just a few days, referring to the banned outfit's protests. He said Pakistan did not benefit from the chaos.

Qureshi ended his brief address with a statement that there would be no question and answer session with media personnel. Before the press conference, earlier in the day, a TLP spokesperson had rejected media reports on the talks between the federal government and TLP being successful. He had said that it will be "too early to say anything about the negotiation".

He had urged people to "refrain from spreading rumours" and clarified that negotiations with the government were still underway. “There is no truth in the reports being aired on TV channels about the successful dialogue,” he had added. The TLP spokesperson said that the success or failure of the talks with the government will be announced by his party leadership.

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