LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has ordered for the immediate release of leaders and workers of Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) who have been taken into custody in protests during the last few days.
According to the spokesman of the Punjab government, Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has issued this order as a ‘goodwill gesture’.
One of the pressing conditions to end the Faizabad sit-in was that the arrested protestors from across the country will be released within one to three days according to legal requirements. Furthermore, the cases registered against them and the house arrests imposed on them will be ended.
The TLYR chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi, while addressing a press conference, had said that the timely release of the party workers, who went missing during the operation, was a key condition to evict the Faizabad interchange.
Police had arrested around 150 participants over the course of the protests. The arrests had been made during clashes between law enforcement agencies and protesters, which broke out sporadically over the 17-day showdown between the state and religious hardliners.
Multiple cases were also registered against the protestor. Earlier, Islamabad police had registered eight cases related to the alleged kidnapping and torture of four police officers by members of religious groups led by the TLYR and Sunni Tehreek (ST). The policemen who were abducted by protesters on Friday night were released early morning on Saturday.
The protesters, led by TLYR leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi, had been booked in three cases earlier for the death of a child, violence against the crew of a TV channel and violation of Section 144.
State Minister for Interior Talal Chaudhry had said that 14 cases had been registered against the protestors.
Calling off the countrywide strike, Rizvi had asserted that the official announcement of ending the sit-in at the Faizabad Interchange will be made after the government ensured that all conditions of the agreement have been accepted.
The government gave in to the protesting religious parties as the Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid tendered his resignation. The law minister’s resignation was the chief demand of the agitating parties, who have been staging a protest sit-in in the capital to press the government for his removal.
The resignation came as part of an agreement reached between the government and the protesters overnight on Sunday. The agreement followed after a two-day face-off at Faizabad Interchange and other parts of the country between protesters and security forces that saw at least six people killed and hundreds injured.
According to the agreement reached between the government and TLYR, an enquiry board will be set up so that action can be taken against those responsible for the controversial amendment to the finality of Prophethood declaration for electoral candidates within 30 days.
The agreement also includes the condition that the arrested workers of the religious parties will have to be released and cases against them dismissed.
The government tried to negotiate with the protesters while refusing the demand for the resignation of the federal law minister, but all the talks of negotiations were unsuccessful until Zahid Hamid tendered his resignation.