Home Latest News Punjab Government Looks to End TLP’s ‘Proscription’

Punjab Government Looks to End TLP’s ‘Proscription’

by Newsweek Pakistan

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar

Chief Minister Usman Buzdar forwards provincial government’s recommendation to federal cabinet for final decision

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Thursday granted preliminary approval to a summary seeking an end to the banned Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP)’s proscribed status, in line with a “secret” deal inked between the federal government and the religio-political group.

A day earlier, the Punjab Home Department had initiated a request to revoke the “proscription” on the TLP. Following the chief minister’s approval, a summary was circulated to all members of the provincial cabinet. According to rules, a minimum of 18 provincial cabinet members had to consent to the move before it could be passed onto the federal government.

“The provincial ministers are requested to communicate their opinion/approval as early as possible,” read the summary circulated by the Cabinet Division. “However, if the opinion/approval is not received in three days, it shall be deemed that the minister accepts the recommendation(s) contained in the summary, in terms of Rule 27(1) of the Punjab Government Rules of Business, 2011,” it added.

Also on Thursday, the government decided to release around 100 detained TLP workers, removing the names of 90 of them from the Fourth Schedule—a section of the Anti-Terrorism Act that empowers authorities to surveil suspected terrorists—including chief Saad Hussain Rizvi. Once delisted from the Fourth Schedule, the TLP workers would have all their accounts unfrozen and their national identity cards restored. Their names would also be removed from the Exit Control List.

The government over the weekend inked a deal with the banned TLP to end its long march on Islamabad but has refused to divulge any details of its terms. A steering committee comprising lawmakers and TLP leaders has been tasked with ensuring the deal is fully implemented. Clerics who helped negotiated the agreement have claimed that its “results” would be visible to the public and it would be made public “at an appropriate time.”

While there has been no official confirmation, the ulema had earlier told media that the government would revoke the ban on the TLP, release all its detained workers, and withdraw all pending cases against them. The terms of the deal have already provoked controversy, with critics lashing out at the government for agreeing to an agreement with the TLP despite the martyrdom of seven police officials in violent clashes.

The PTI-led government had “banned” the TLP in April, though it did not complete the necessary legal requirements that would have required its delisting by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

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