Islamabad [Pakistan], April 19 (ANI): Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid in the early hours of Monday announced that after the first round of talks with the recently proscribed Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), 11 policemen who were taken hostage in Lahore have been released.
In a video statement, the interior minister said the "first round of talks" concluded in a "successful manner" after which the policemen were released and the protesters had gone inside the Masjid Rehmatulil Alameen. He added that the police had also been withdrawn, reported Geo News.
Rasheed hoped that other matters would also be sorted out in the next round, which would be held after Sehri.
Earlier, CM Punjab's aide Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan had said that "miscreants" armed with petrol bombs attacked the Nawankot Police Station, taking 12 policemen hostage and leaving six injured.
Sharing a statement by the Lahore police, she had said that owing to the attack, in which the attackers used petrol bombs and bottles of acid, Rangers and police personnel were trapped inside the police station.
The miscreants held the deputy superintendent of police hostage at gunpoint, along with 11 other policemen, and drove them to their markaz (comprising a mosque and madrassah) nearby, reported Geo News.
Aside from attacking the police station and kidnapping officials, the miscreants also stole an oil tanker carrying 50,000 litres of petrol, she added.
Meanwhile on Sunday, Punjab police said the violence occurred after "miscreants" -- an apparent reference to TLP workers -- attacked a police station and abducted the DSP, adding that it acted only in "self-defence".
A TLP spokesperson said the clash started when police launched an operation to clear the area around Lahore's Yateem Khana Chowk, where workers of the banned party have been staging a protest since earlier this week, reported Dawn.
At least three protesters were killed and several others injured during the clash, according to the party's workers.
In a video message, TLP spokesperson Shafiq Ameeni said that "[We] will bury [those killed] when the French ambassador exits the country and our agreement (with the government) is implemented."
TLP was formally banned by the federal government earlier this week after its supporters staged three days of violent protests across the country, resulting in deaths and injuries to several policemen.
On Thursday, the government had slapped a ban on the TLP. A notification declaring TLP as a proscribed organisation was issued by the Ministry of Interior shortly after the federal cabinet approved a summary to ban the party.
The notification said: "The federal government has reasonable grounds to believe that the TLP is engaged in terrorism, [has] acted in a manner prejudicial to the peace and security of the country, [was] involved in creating anarchy in the country by intimidating the public, caused grievous bodily harm, hurt and death to the personnel of law enforcement agencies and innocent by-standers, attacked civilians and officials, created wide-scale hurdles, threatened, abused and promoted hatred, vandalised and ransacked public and government properties including vehicles and caused arson, blocked essential health supplies to hospitals, and has threatened, coerced, intimidated, and overawed the government [and] the public and created sense of fear and insecurity in the society and the public at large," reported Dawn.
During the three days of countrywide protests, hundreds of protesters and police personnel were injured and thousands of TLP activists and supporters were arrested and booked for attacking law enforcement personnel and blocking main roads and highways in protest against the arrest of their leader Saad Hussain Rizvi.
TLP is demanding that the French ambassador be sent home and import of goods from France be banned over blasphemous caricatures published in French magazine Charlie Hebdo. (ANI)