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PM Imran Khan says violence will not be allowed for political gains

Prime Minister Imran Khan. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD:  Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday issued directives to stop the long march announced by the proscribed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, saying that “violence will not be allowed to anyone for political gains”.

Sources privy to the matter said that the decision to prohibit the proscribed organisation from marching was taken during the meeting of the Federal Cabinet. PM Imran Khan said at the meeting that the government will not allow anyone to take the law into their hands.

The meeting briefed the prime minister on the proscribed outfit’s protest march, sources said, adding that the government has decided not to restrict the protestors from marching beyond Jhelum.

Earlier in the day, a clash between the police and TLP workers in Sadhoke left several police officers injured.

Sources further added that the government has been adamant to not allow the long march “under any circumstances,” and that “no talks will be held with the proscribed organisation.”

“The government and the state are on one page regarding the protests,” the premier said during the meeting, per sources, adding that the protesters will be “dealt with severely if they try to enter Islamabad.”

‘This show should end now’: Fawad Chaudhry

Shedding light on the matter, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said that the problems with the proscribed outfit should not be aggravated, adding that “this show should end now.”

Speaking to the media in Islamabad before the cabinet meeting, Chaudhry had said that the long march going on GT Road should “end immediately.”

“The issue of the banned TLP would be discussed in detail during the cabinet meeting and the show should end,” he had added.

‘TLP not a religious organisation’

Later, briefing the media on the cabinet’s decision, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said “TLP is not a religious organisation, it is a militant wing”.

The minister said the cabinet had decided to deal with TLP like a militant organisation, as he slammed the proscribed political party for blocking roads and central arteries for their protests.

“They have already put up a show six times. The proscribed TLP cannot blackmail the state; it has no status. In the past, we have defeated terrorist organisations,” he said.

The information minister, noting that six police officials were martyred during the protest, asked that till when would the state act as a silent spectator.

“We do not want bloodshed,” he said and slammed the TLP for blocking the roads “without reason”.

He asked the proscribed organisation to not underestimate the state’s writ, as the government had waited long enough.

Chaudhry said several people joined the protesters with AK-47s in their hands.

Govt orders crackdown on social media accounts of the proscribed outfit

According to sources, Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad has directed the authorities concerned to launch a crackdown on the social media accounts of the proscribed outfit.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) sources said that they have received the instructions, adding that they would initiate action against the social media accounts of the prescribed organisation starting today.

‘If Imran Khan’s sit-in was legitimate, why is TLP’s long march being stopped?’ Fazl

On the other hand, PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said: “If Imran Khan’s sit-in was legitimate when the PTI was in the Opposition, “then why isn’t TLP’s long march justified?”

He questioned that if protests against Nawaz Sharif was legitimate, then why is it illegal against Imran Khan.

“They are stopping the protestors from entering Islamabad; we demand that the general elections should be held.”

Fazl went on to say that “it is the legal right of the TLP to register their protest, therefore, the matters should be resolved through legal means.”

Pakistan Railways announce alternate routes

Meanwhile, in light of the development, Pakistan Railways announced that the trains heading and departing from Rawalpindi and Lahore were directed to use alternate routes.

The railways’ spokesperson said the trains were being rerouted via Lahore, Sheikhupura, Sargodha, Jhand.

The spokesperson said the operations of Subak Khram, Islamabad Express, Rawal Express were suspended, while the Orange Line’s route from Rawalpindi to Lahore was also suspended.

However, the rest of the trains would operate in line with their schedule.

Similarly, due to the ongoing six-day long protest, traffic has been suspended on GT Road, causing frustration to the commuters, as they are facing troubles.

Govt denies shutting down French embassy

A day ago, Rasheed had said that the government is in agreement with all of the demands put forth by the banned party except for the one seeking to shut down the French embassy.

“We have various constraints regarding the matter of French ambassador,” Rasheed had said while briefing the media about the progress of the dialogue with the banned outfit.

The minister had said that “there is huge pressure on Pakistan” regarding the banned outfit’s demand related to the French embassy.

“Pakistan may face various issues if we send the French ambassador packing,” he had said.

Rasheed had expressed the hope that the banned outfit would call off its sit-in protest as the government had accepted its major demands.

“We want them to review their demand related to the French embassy,” the interior minister had said.

He further told the media that a report on the dialogue with the banned outfit’s leadership had been submitted to the prime minister which was also discussed in a meeting held today in the presence of civil and military leadership besides chief secretaries and inspector generals of police.

“We want peace in the country. It is our endeavour to settle all the matters with TLP as early as possible through dialogue.”

Rasheed had said despite the martyrdom of two policemen and 70 other injured, including two in critical condition, the government still wanted to resolve the issue with mutual understanding and cooperation.

Source: The News

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