Govt decides to withdraw appeal against Saad Rizvi’s release

The government has started to implement a secretive agreement signed with the proscribed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), with reports suggesting that it has released more than 800 supporters of the party arrested across Punjab under the deal.
The government had signed an accord with the proscribed outfit last Sunday, under which workers of the organisation who are not facing any formal criminal charges were to be released. The amnesty will also extend to the party’s top leader, Saad Rizvi.
Implementation of the agreement started after a Monday meeting of the steering committee formed by Prime Minister Imran Khan to work out how the deal would be executed.
Federal Minister Ali Mohammad Khan chaired the meeting. It was attended by Punjab’s Minister for Law Raja Basharat, secretaries of the federal interior ministry, additional chief secretary of the Punjab Home Department, other officials, as well as some members of the TLP.
According to the Punjab Home Department, 860 persons who were not facing any formal charges have been released across Punjab.
The meeting also decided to withdraw its appeal filed against the release of TLP leader Saad Rizvi. The government had earlier challenged the order of a Lahore High Court (LHC) bench regarding Rizvi’s release.
Meanwhile, talking to a private channel, Saylani Welfare Trust Chairman Maulana Bashir Farooqui, who was present during negotiations between the TLP and the government, said the agreement cannot be made public before the 10th day of the deal, even as he assured that its contents “do not go against the national interest”.
News of an agreement between the government and TLP was announced Sunday in a sombre press conference hosted by officials from the PTI government’s negotiating team.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi and National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser were present on behalf of the government at the press conference. Barelvi scholar Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman was also present, having arbitrated between the government and the protestors.
Rehman began the news conference held in Islamabad, saying talks with the banned TLP had been “successful” and that an “agreement” had been reached.
He had said at the time, however, that details of the agreement will be revealed at a “suitable time”. He added that a positive outcome of the agreement will be seen in the coming days.
Farooqui said other signatories of the agreement included the NA speaker, FM Qureshi and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan, besides members of the TLP shura.

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