After several days of protests, the government agreed to table a resolution in the National Assembly calling for the deportation of the French ambassador to Pakistan and the withdrawal of cases against members of the banned Tehreek-e-Libya Pakistan (TLP).
The announcement was made by Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid in a video statement on Twitter on Tuesday.
A government delegation comprising Interior Minister, Minister for Religious Affairs Dr Noorul Haq Qadri, SAPM Tahir Ashrafi, Punjab Governor Muhammad Sarwar and Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat issued the statement after talking to members of the banned group in Lahore.
The interior minister said demonstrations across the country, including a protest outside the headquarters of a religious-political group, would end.
Rashid said he would hold a press conference later today to share more information on the matter.
He said that all the cases including those filed under the Fourth Schedule against the members of the banned TLP would also be withdrawn.
Three Rounds of Negotiations
On Monday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the second round of talks between the Punjab government and the banned TLP ended a few hours after the success of the first phase.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid had announced a day earlier that 11 policemen held hostage in Lahore by the banned party had been released after negotiations by the Punjab government.
In a video statement, the interior minister said the “first round of talks” had been a success, after which police officers were released and protesters marched inside the Rehmatullah Mosque.
The Information Minister said that Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar and Law Minister Raja Basharat represented the government in the second round of talks.
He added, “The third round will be held at 10 pm, in which Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid and Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri will participate.
Attack on the Police Station
Lahore CCPO spokesman Rana Arif told Geo TV that all 16 police officers who were taken hostage on Sunday were released at 2:10 a.m. Monday.
The official added that the TLP’s four demands included the release of its leader Saad Ravi, non-banning of the TLP, dismissal of all FIRs against its workers and deportation of the French ambassador. This includes introducing a resolution in parliament.
On Sunday, 36 policemen were injured in clashes with rioters. Arif said one of them is in critical condition.
The 16 abductees were kept in the basement of a mosque and tortured.
The TLP and the Government are on the Same Page
Prior to the third round of talks, Prime Minister Imran Khan had reminded the nation that Pakistan was built on the principles of Islam.
He emphasized that the government was on the same page with the TLP in protecting the honor of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), however, deporting the French ambassador was not a solution to Islamophobia.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that “the West has made it an issue of freedom of expression and if we send back the French ambassador, some other European countries will follow suit.”
“If Pakistan starts sending back ambassadors from different countries, it will hurt the economy, but it will not affect France or any other country.”