Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed Friday said that the door to negotiations with the proscribed Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) is not shut yet, but that the state’s writ will have to be ensured at all cost.
He was speaking to the media after attending a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC), which met with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair to review the law and order situation in the country, with a specific focus on the protests by the banned organisation.
“We have not shut the door to talks, but the state’s writ has to be enforced at all cost,” the interior minister said, adding that he wishes to settle the issue amicably.
Rasheed said that the government’s responsibility is to secure people’s lives and property. “[Federal Minister for Religious Affairs] Noor-ul-Haq Qadri and I will hold talks with the proscribed TLP.”
The NSC meeting, which continued for two hours, was attended by the top civil and military leadership, including all services and intelligence chiefs.
Federal ministers Pervez Khattak, Sheikh Rasheed, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Fawad Chauhdry were also present, where the internal security situation was deliberated.
It is pertinent to mention that Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain had ruled out the possibility of negotiations with the proscribed TLP until it cleared all the roads and handed over the culprits, who martyred policemen during recent clashes.
The minister had stated this in a tweet on Thursday. He had also urged patriots to distance themselves away from the ongoing protests and return home instead of becoming part of a campaign which is tantamount to terrorism against the state.
Protests by members of the proscribed group entered their eighth day today (Friday), with protesters camping out in Kamoke for the last couple of days.
Initially, the proscribed group staged sit-ins in Multan and Lahore, after which a march towards Islamabad was announced.
Security forces had cordoned off major roads to prevent the protesters from reaching Islamabad. The protesters have been staging sit-ins on GT Road for the past several days, disrupting transport services.