Eleven Pakistani law enforcement officials seized by supporters of a radical Islamist group as a part of their marketing campaign to get the French ambassador expelled have been launched, officers stated Monday.
The officers had been grabbed as hostages Sunday by supporters of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) throughout violent protests in Lahore.
Video circulating on social media — and confirmed unofficially by police as real — confirmed a few of them bloodied and bruised, with bandages round their heads.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed stated the police had been launched early Monday after “negotiations” with the TLP, which the federal government banned final week after successfully labelling it a terrorist organisation.
The officers had been held at a TLP mosque stronghold in Lahore, which is now full of supporters and surrounded by police.
“Negotiations have been started with TLP; the first round completed successfully,” stated Rashid in a video on Twitter.
“They have released 11 policemen who were made hostages.”
He stated a second spherical of negotiations would happen later Monday, though it’s not clear what they may focus on.
Previously the TLP had set an April 20 deadline for the expulsion of the French ambassador.
The group has been behind an anti-France marketing campaign for months since President Emmanuel Macron defended the correct of Charlie Hebdo journal to republish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad — an act deemed blasphemous by many Muslims.
Protests paralyse cities
Last week the embassy in Pakistan suggested its nationals to go away the nation — a name that seems to have gone largely unheeded.
“The TLP people have gone inside the Mosque and the police have also stepped back,” stated Rashid.
“Hopefully, the rest of the issues will be settled in the second round.”
Rioting has rocked the nation for the previous week because the chief of the TLP was detained in Lahore after calling for a march on the capital.
The protests have paralysed cities and led to the deaths of six policemen.
TLP leaders say a number of of the celebration’s supporters had been killed in Sunday’s clashes.
“We won’t bury them until the French ambassador is kicked out,” Allama Muhammad Shafiq Amini, a TLP chief within the metropolis, stated in a video assertion.
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s authorities has struggled to convey TLP to heel over time, however this week introduced an outright ban towards the group — successfully labelling it a terrorist outfit.
Still, on Saturday he urged the celebration hadn’t been banned for its ideology, however reasonably its strategies.
“Let me make clear to people here & abroad: Our govt only took action against TLP under our anti-terrorist law when they challenged the writ of the state and used street violence & attacking the public & law enforcers,” he tweeted.
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