Government to propound resolution on French envoy’s expulsion

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid told that the government will propound a resolution on the French envoy’s expulsion in the National Assembly.

In a video statement, he said the government took the decision after another round of talks with Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP). Rashid said that the TLP had agreed to call off protests across the country. “Talks with the party will continue,” he said. The minister said that cases registered against TLP workers under the Fourth Schedule will also be withdrawn. He added that he will give a detailed briefing on the development via a press conference later.

Nonetheless, the announcement came after a government delegation met TLP workers for yet another round of talks in Lahore. The delegation comprised of the interior minister and Religious Affairs Minister Pir Noorul Haq Qadri.

Moreover, the first round of talks between the Punjab government and TLP workers took place on April 18. Parties held talks after day-long clashes between TLP workers and law enforcers. On April 19, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had said that the second round had concluded. He added that a third-round would begin at 10 pm.

Furthermore, the government is currently engaging with the workers of the TLP after a clash with the police in Lahore. TLP workers have been holding anti-France protests for more than a week. The TLP has put forth demands regarding the expulsion of the French ambassador and the release of their party chief. They also demanded the removal of the ban on the party, the release of activists arrested, and the revocation of FIRs against them.

On April 18, the city of Lahore became a battleground as workers of the recently banned party and policemen clashed. TLP workers also took 11 policemen hostage, who were later released after the first round of talks with the government.

Nevertheless, PM Imran Khan said that the government and TLP have the same goal to end incidents of blasphemy worldwide. However, their methodologies to deal with the issue were different. “Has this approach made any difference?” the premier asked, referring to TLP’s past protests. “Now, I ask will sending the French ambassador back and cutting off all ties with them stop this,” he added. “Is there any guarantee that no one will commit blasphemy after that?” he said.

Besides, after the arrest of the party chief, the outraged TLP had issued a call for countrywide protests. They blocked highways, motorways, and train tracks, disrupting life in a better part of the country. Also, these demonstrations caused violence as protesters clashed with police at many places. The violence claimed several lives and left hundreds injured before the government announced to ban TLP under the anti-terrorism law.

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