350 activists of banned outfit released, says Sheikh Rasheed

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ISLAMABAD: A day after successful negotiations between the government and banned outfit Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), as many as 350 TLP activists have been released from various jails in Punjab, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad confirmed Sunday.

The Punjab police had launched a province-wide crackdown against the banned outfit after the group had announced a long march towards Islamabad last week and arrested many of its workers and leaders.

In a statement, the interior minister urged the protesters to clear both sides of the Muridke road for traffic, as per an understanding reached between the two sides a day earlier.

‘Talks with banned outfit were successful’

Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad Sunday had said that talks between the government and banned outfit TLP, after they threatened to march towards Islamabad, had been successful.

Talking to journalists, the interior minister had said that all the roads, which had been closed earlier to stop the protesters from marching towards Islamabad, will be reopened for traffic gradually.

The TLP protesters will not move forward [to Islamabad] and will stay in Muridke till Tuesday, he added.

Giving details of the government’s talks with the leadership of TLP, the interior minister revealed that the government will withdraw cases registered against the activists of TLP till Wednesday.

“The negotiators of the proscribed organization will visit the Interior Ministry on Monday at 10am [to hold a second round of talks],” said Rasheed.

It was decided that the cases against those named in the Fourth Schedule will not be taken back, the minister added.

“I held a one-on-one meeting with Saad Hussain Rizvi,” he said, adding that the government will take up the issue relating to the expulsion of France’s ambassador to the National Assembly.

Terming the activists of TLP as “political workers”, the minister said that the government did not want to clash with religious groups.

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