Banning it, Pakistan encouraged talks with the extremist group

Banning it, Pakistan encouraged talks with the extremist group

(Bloomberg) - Pakistan began talks last week with an extremist group to curb religious violence, which has become a major challenge for Prime Minister Imran Khan as he struggles to revive the economy.

Talks between Khan's administration and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, an Islamic party demanding the deportation of the French ambassador, continued on Sunday after violent protests in Lahore, Pakistan's second-largest city, according to a statement from the interior minister. Is. Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and local media reports. Late at night, the banned group released 11 policemen it had taken hostage earlier in the day, he said.

In the wake of the uprising, Khan's government signaled on Thursday that it would ban the TLP, but that did not stop the demand for the expulsion of the French ambassador, who last year called on President Emmanuel Macron There was a comment about the publication of ridiculous cartoons. Businesses and shops in Karachi, the largest city and Lahore were partially closed to protest government action by traders' groups, and the benchmark stock exchange fell 1.5 percent before some losses were recovered.

"The stocks fell due to the political uncertainty created by the strike and protests," said Hamza Kamal, a senior investment analyst at Karachi-based AKD Securities Limited. "It has a negative effect on investor sentiment."

In a speech in Islamabad on Monday, the Prime Minister said that such protests were tarnishing Pakistan's image abroad. Khan said he would launch a global campaign against blasphemy.

The TLP, which partially paralyzed the initiative three years ago with violent protests and forced the then law minister to resign when it emerged as a strong political force in the 2018 national elections She came in sixth with 2.2 million votes.

Last year, it ended its protest after the Khan government agreed to parliamentary approval to deport the French ambassador. The group staged a nationwide protest last week that killed two policemen.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, a leading group representing the country's media, is also pressuring the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to cover the protests. In an unprecedented move, the government on Friday suspended social media services, including WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, for four hours in a bid to quell the protests.

The South Asian country has just reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund to restart its 6 6 billion bailout program. After escaping a financial crisis just two years ago, Pakistan has no room for policy mistakes as the epidemic of Covid 19 is on the economy.

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