Deal with Tehreek-e-Labbaik ‘not desirable’, but struck out of necessity: Ahsan Iqbal

Deal with Tehreek-e-Labbaik ‘not desirable’, but struck out of necessity: Ahsan Iqbal

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Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Tuesday that though the deal signed by the government with the Tehreek-e-Labbaik protesters to make them end their protest was “not desirable”, it had become necessary to prevent riots.

He tweeted that the civil and military leadership had worked together to save the country from the threat of “religion-based violence”. He added that there was a need to heal wounds to unite the nation.

The Tehreek-e-Labbaik’s three-week-long sit-in at Islamabad’s Faizabad Interchange finally ended on Monday after the government acquiesced to its demands.

Hundreds of Tehreek-e-Labbaik supporters had been camping at the Faizabad Interchange since November 6, calling for the resignation of Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid who they blamed for a hastily-abandoned change in the oath of elected representatives.

When the situation spiralled out of control, the government ordered police and paramilitary troops to stand down and called on the army to restore order in the federal capital.

Subsequently, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa went into a huddle with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi where they concurred that army troops would not use force against protesters and would only provide back-end support.

According to the deal that was signed, the federal and Punjab government would pay for the losses incurred to the properties during the dharna and those arrested for various charges would be released.

The deal carries the signatures of Rizvi, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Interior Secretary Arshad Mirza, and Major General Faiz Hameed.

Speaking on Express News’s Kal Tak with Javed Chaudhry, the interior minister said the government accepted six of the protesters’ conditions. He also tried to spin the agreement between the government and the protesters as “not a defeat for anyone”, but “a victory for Pakistan. He said that if an agreement was not reached, unrest could have spread across the country and the situation would worsen.

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