The government of Pakistan has declared Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) to be treated as a militant organization.

Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry said that the government plans on ensuring that the TLP meets the fate of a terrorist organization. Earlier on Wednesday, addressing a presser in Islamabad the Minister said, “A meeting led by Prime Minister Imran Khan was held yesterday, participated by the representative of intelligence and other relevant institutions”.

He added, “A clear decision was made in the meeting not to treat the TLP as a political party at any cost and to treat it as a militant organization”.

Fawad stressed that all other institutions, including the Election Commission of Pakistan, should play their role and treat the organization in a similar way. The minister added that the TLP is supported by Indian accounts and that the militant group is violent. He added, “Its demands and attack on the state are unacceptable.”

The minister maintained that only the state has the right to resort to physical means, saying “challenging the writ of the state is unacceptable. We have so far exhibited restraint and have not stopped any civilian. We have not resorted to the use of power against the TLP.”

The minister warned those “spreading fake news on YouTube and other platforms of social media pertaining to the organization. Such people also comprise persons from the media industry. We are asking you to drop the culture of fake news or we will come down hard on you.”

The minister talked about the six police personnel who were martyred while over 700  had been injured in clashes with the TLP workers.

He said, “Now, in the span of just two days, three cops have been martyred while more than 49 are injured”.

Fawad said that this is about the integrity of the people of Pakistan and “we will go to all extents in ensuring the same. Do not complain to us later [when we resort to taking action]”.

He said, “The TLP was first founded in 2015 and it has now made a practice of taking to the streets and blocking them. The state has limits to its restraint.”

The federal minister also added that certain groups imposing their viewpoint could lead to the state’s elimination.

Talking about the state’s treatment of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, Fawad said that no one should underestimate the power of the state. “You cannot blackmail the state of Pakistan. Some leaders of this organization won’t be affected by any potential unrest, they rather want it to take place.”

Electronic voting machines

The parliamentary affairs ministry intends to write to the ECP to hold the next elections in Lahore using the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

“It is also being proposed to organize the forthcoming elections of the federal chamber of commerce and the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) through EVMs.”

Soaring prices

Bashing Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Fawad termed it the responsibility of the provincial governments to control prices in their provinces.

He further added that the Cabinet was provided with a comparative, province-wise analysis of prices of essential commodities.

“The prices of wheat, ghee, and petrol in Pakistan are still the lowest compared to the other countries in the region,” he remarked.

Earlier today, the TLP workers clashed with the Punjab police force near Sadhoke in Gujranwala, leading to the deaths of the personnel and injuries to hundreds.

The recent clashes between the banned outfit and the police occurred as the party resumed its march towards the capital after talks with the government failed.

The TLP is of the view that the government is not willing to negotiate in a serious manner whereas the government holds the stance that TLP should let go of its demand regarding the expulsion of the French envoy. The government has agreed to all other conditions including the release of the organization’s chief Saad Rizvi.

The story was filed by the News Desk.
The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

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