ISLAMABAD: The government stated on Friday that holding talks with the outlawed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), which is protesting the imprisonment of its leader, is still a possibility, but that no one would be permitted to question the state’s writ.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid confirmed that police in Punjab will work under Rangers as per Article-147, speaking to the media in Islamabad after the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan and discussed the latest security situation amid the protests.
He said that his ministry took the decision yesterday after four policemen were martyred in clashes with TLP workers, while more than 80 were injured, eight of them critically.
“The state’s writ would be established in any scenario,” he continued, “but we haven’t closed the door on dialogue with the TLP yet.”
“We’re trying to work out an amicable solution,” Rashid said. “It’s possible that Minister of Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri and I may meet with the TLP again this evening,” he said.
“We will inform the media about the outcome of the meeting.”
Rashid said the government was standing by its position and the ball was now in the TLP’s court.
“The government is abiding by the agreement reached with the outlawed TLP, but we are still waiting that it will reopen GT Road and return to its centre as per the agreement,” the minister added.
Rashid also revealed that Prime Minister Imran Khan would address the nation in a day or two over the TLP issue.
“He [PM Imran ] will present the entire situation before the nation, and his speech will explain the narrative of the government,” stressed Rashid during the press conference.
“We have to protect the lives and property of the people” as the security situation in Punjab was deteriorating.
Earlier today, the NSC meeting continued for two hours. The top civil and military leadership, including Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Air and Naval chiefs and intelligence chiefs attended the meeting.
Besides Rashid federal ministers Pervez Khattak, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Fawad Chaudhry were also in the meeting.