In what appears to be another total surrender before the protesters marching towards Islamabad, the Pakistan federal government has released more than 350 activists of the banned Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), besides announcing that the cases against others would be withdrawn by Wednesday, Dawn news reported.
The government also assured the TLP leaders of reviewing the Fourth Schedule list containing their names and working on a plan to release their jailed chief Saad Rizvi, the report quoted Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed as saying while speaking at a news conference on Sunday.
The Minister, who addressed the presser after leading a government team in negotiations with representatives of the TLP, including its detained chief, in Islamabad, later tweeted: "We have released 350 TLP workers up to now and we are still waiting to open both sides of road of Muridke as per the decision with the TLP."
Another round of talks with the TLP will be held at the Ministry of Interior in Islamabad on Monday according to Rashid who said the protesters had agreed not to march towards the capital and stay at Muridke, some 33 km from Lahore, till Wednesday.
However, a TLP Shura member claimed the interior minister had sought time till the return of Prime Minister Imran Khan who is currently on an official visit to Saudi Arabia.
"Perhaps the people will say that the state has surrendered. But it is not the job of the state to use the stick (force)," the Minister said, explaining the duty of the state was to find a path of reconciliation.
"This is my viewpoint as the Interior Minister," he added.