Punjab forms committee for peace talks with TLP

10:02 PM | 22 Oct, 2021
Punjab forms committee for peace talks with TLP

ISLAMABAD — The Punjab government on Friday formed a two-member committee to negotiate peace with a banned religious outfit marching on Pakistan’s federal capital.

The Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) started its march on Islamabad on Friday to pressurise the government to release party chief Saad Rizvi and expel the French ambassador because French President Emmanuel Macron defended the publication of anti-Islam drawings in the name of free speech.

On Friday, Pakistani authorities partially shut down federal capital Islamabad and other major cities by placing shipping containers on the roads after TLP leaders threatened to stage a sit-in in Islamabad until acceptance of their demands.

“The Punjab government has formed a committee of senior cabinet members to hold negotiations with the TLP,” says Hasaan Khawar, the provincial administration’s spokesperson. “We hope that dialogue will resolve this issue,” he said.

The government committee, which consists of provincial law minister Raja Basharat and public prosecution minister Chaudhry Zaheeruddin, will negotiate with the religious group.

“We respect everyone’s right to protest, but we hope people will not take the law into their hands,” Khawar said. “If anyone tries to do that, the writ of the government will be enforced. Dialogue is always a better way to resolve such issues,” he said.