Staff Reporter – Lahore:
The government has lifted the ban on the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) “in the larger national interest” and in line with the “secret agreement” it had signed with the group on October 31, following violent protests by the TLP to press for release of its chief Saad Rizvi.
According to the interior ministry, the notification has been issued at Punjab government’s request.
On Saturday the media had reported that Prime Minister Imran Khan had approved for his cabinet’s nod by circulation a summary seeking revocation of the ban on the TLP.
“In exercise of the powers conferred under sub-section (I) of Section 11U of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 (as amended), the federal government is pleased to remove the name of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan from the First Schedule of the said Act as proscribed organisation for the purpose of the said Act,” reads the notification.
Providing the background, the notification states that the TLP had been placed in the First Schedule as a proscribed organisation by the federal government on April 15 this year on the recommendation of Home Department of Punjab.
“Whereas, the provincial cabinet has considered the request of the organisation and in view of the assurance and commitment by the organisation, is of the opinion that said organisation shall abide by the Constitution and laws of the country and, therefore, keeping in view the larger national interest and long-term perspective to ensure that such incidents do not recur in future, the government of Punjab has proposed to the federal government to consider revoking of proscription of the TLP,” says the interior ministry’s notification while justifying the action.
According to sources, the Punjab government had assured the TLP that it would release its chief on Monday (today), while a TLP spokesperson also confirmed to Dawn that the government would release him on Monday.
The spokesman said their workers still holding a sit-in did not want to leave Wazirabad without listening speech of the TLP chief. He said they were trying to convince the workers to end the sit-in but they demanded that Mr Rizvi come and address them. He said their senior leaders and ulema were also trying to convince them to end the sit-in and the issue would be sorted out soon.