TLP calls off Islamabad protest after Govt accepts their anti-France demands

Govt agrees to expel French ambassador in 2-3 months, boycott French products


The Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), which started a protest demonstration in Islamabad on Sunday, has called off its sit-in after the government accepted its anti-France demands.
The religious group has been calling for expelling the French ambassador and boycotting French goods over the publication of blasphemous caricatures in France.

The government and the protesters agreed on the following four points after negotiations.

  1.  Pakistan will deport the French ambassador in two to three months through a decision in the parliament
  2.  Pakistan will not appoint any ambassador to France
  3.  French products will be officially boycotted
  4.  All those arrested during the TLP protest will be released and no case will be registered against them

TLP leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi addressed participants of the march late Monday night and announced the agreement with the government’s negotiation team.

The agreement was signed from the government side by Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, Minister for Religious Affairs Noor-ul-Haq Qadri and Islamabad Commissioner Aamir Ahmed.

Earlier on Sunday night, a large number of TLP leaders and activists reached Faizabad where law enforcers used teargas to disperse them, but the protesters managed to remove the barricades and pushed back the police and paramilitary troops.

The officials said a well-equipped contingent of capital police, including Counter Terrorism Force, Anti-Terrorism Squad and Anti-Riot Unit along with paramilitary troops participated in the operation that started at around 4:15am and continued till 8am on Monday.

Physical confrontation between the protesters and security officials also took place. The operation was suspended at 9am, the officials said, adding that the protesters spread to all sides of Faizabad Interchange following which Murree Road was sealed from Rawal Dam Chowk, Islamabad Expressway from Zero Point to Khanna and I.J. Principal Road from Ninth Avenue.

The Red Zone was also partially sealed including Khayaban-i-Suhrawardy, Srinagar Highway from Dhokri Chowk and Fazl-i-Haq Road at Polyclinic Chowk, the officials added.

The district administrations of the twin cities had also sealed entry points — 24 in the garrison city and 16 in Islamabad — with freight containers and heavy trucks.

Meanwhile, around 26 police officials, including DSP Tariq Mehboob, SHO Abdul Aziz, two sub-inspectors, three constables, 10 Elite Force and three Dolphin Force personnel, were injured in the clashes.

The metro bus service and public transport remained suspended on Monday. Residents faced inconvenience in commuting due to road blockades, with many families stranded on G.T. Road. Ambulances remained stuck on roads leading to hospitals. Markets along Murree Road and downtown areas also remained closed.

Two separate FIRs — one with Waris Khan and the other with Race Course police station — were registered against more than 850 people.

As many as 86 TLP workers who had clashed with the police in Rawalpindi and unlawfully staged protests were arrested and shifted to Adiala jail.

According to police sources, 400 people in Rawalpindi have been arrested since Sunday.

Mobile phone and internet services in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Attock, Jhelum and Chakwal remained suspended.

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