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Shehbaz Sharif’s Testimony to Faizabad Dharna Commission Unveiled

Former Chief Minister of Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif, informed the Faizabad Dharna Commission that the provincial government was not privy to any intelligence reports regarding the ban on Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and that he was unaware of the party’s sit-in plan.

Shehbaz Sharif, now the Prime Minister, revealed that a cabinet sub-committee on peace, comprising the provincial law minister and other key provincial ministers, was established to address law and order issues in Punjab.

During his testimony to the probe commission, he emphasized that the Faizabad sit-in caught authorities by surprise at the time.

Shehbaz disclosed that the district commissioner, the commissioner of Rawalpindi, as well as the city police officer (CPO), and the regional police officer (RPO), were given clear directives by the sub-committee on peace and security to extend full support to the Islamabad administration.

He underscored that the decision to ban an organization is contingent upon stringent criteria outlined in the Anti-Terrorism Act, suggesting that such authority lies within the purview of the Ministry of Interior.

Regarding the handling of the situation, Shehbaz stressed the avoidance of force to prevent a potential escalation of law and order issues nationwide. Instead, political negotiations were pursued with TLP leaders.

He noted that an agreement between TLP and the federal government stipulated the withdrawal of cases against TLP leaders and workers after due legal processes.

In related developments, former Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid recounted to the probe commission that he was urged to resign from his ministerial post by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) director general Lieutenant General (retd) Faiz Hamid during the Faizabad sit-in. Junior ISI officers from Lahore visited his residence on November 26, 2017, to facilitate his resignation, as per Hamid’s statement to the commission.

The probe commission was established by the Supreme Court following the 2017 sit-in protest at Faizabad led by former TLP chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi.

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