Sunday February 05, 2023

PM wants to save govt-TLP deal from spoilers

Only Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Ali Muhammad Khan are allowed to speak on TLP agreement

November 03, 2021
PM Imran Khan meets coalition partners.
PM Imran Khan meets coalition partners.  

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked his ministers to refrain from discussing the TLP issue and has allowed only two cabinet members, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Ali Muhammad Khan, to speak on the issue in public and on the media.

Informed sources said that the provisions of the agreement reached between the two sides is being strictly kept secret amid reports that the government is encouraging the TLP, which is presently proscribed, to get into the mainstream politics and check its violent way of protests.

The sources said the prime minister knows that if the government ministers and PTI leaders start discussing the TLP issue and the agreement reached between the two sides for the peaceful end of the TLP’s protest, a particular section of society would act as a spoiler.

The TLP, which was declared proscribed by the government several months back, will be removed soon from the list of proscribed organizations as part of the agreement reached between the two sides. The TLP has been told by the government that it is the third biggest political force in the largest province of Pakistan –Punjab-- and should thus focus on political means to achieve its aims.

“We shouldn’t push the TLP from being a proscribed organization to a terrorist outfit,” an informed government source said, adding that the TLP is being encouraged to become part of mainstream politics.

The government realizes that use of force against the TLP would have a serious consequences and for the same reason it opted for a negotiated solution, which entails certain concessions for the TLP including the release of its leader, Saad Rizvi, and hundreds of its followers. The government would also withdraw the TLP’s name from the list of proscribed organizations.

In return, the TLP would be expected to refrain from violent protests and lockdowns. Like any other political, religious or social organization, the TLP would be allowed to protest within the parameters of the law and the Constitution.

When asked about the criticism about the government’s engagement with the TLP, which was recently declared as proscribed and was alleged of getting funds and support from India, government sources explained that the TLP has been violent in its protests but it has never been acting like a terrorist organization.

According to a source, if the government could talk with terrorist organizations like the TTP and Baloch terrorist groups for the sake of peace and for the sake of the people of Pakistan, then why should it not encourage the TLP to stick to its stance but shun its violent way of protest?

Before Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, the information minister Fawad Chaudhry in a tweet had said, “Religious extremist groups have the capacity to use mobs for violence but their capacity to stir politics has always been limited. At one point, the Sunni Tehreek was more violent than the TLP but done n dusted this party will be over sooner, alliance with such party means int isolation”.