Islamabad: The authorities of Pakistan's Punjab have released over 800 radical Islamists, days after agreeing with the banned party, to end nearly two weeks of protests and clashes.
Punjab Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Raja Basharat said the released people were arrested during crackdowns on the protests – which started on the 12th of Rabiul Awwal – and raids, Dawn reported.
They were released after scrutiny was completed, Basharat said, adding that workers against whom first information reports (FIRs) were registered would have to obtain bail from courts.
The minister said it was yet to be decided whether Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) workers detained under Section 16 of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) 1960 would also be released.
In a statement, Special Assistant to the Chief Minister Punjab for Information Hassan Khawar said over 1,800 people had been taken into custody under MPO, of whom 860 had been released. He added that the remaining marchers would be released soon as well.
He further said meetings of the government's steering committee were being held to devise the plan for implementing the agreement inked with the TLP.
The release comes after an agreement was reached between the TLP and the Pakistan government. Hundreds of TLP members had taken to the streets throughout the country recently to pressure the government for the release of its chief, Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi.
A government team comprising Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammed Khan and other ministers, held talks with the top leadership of the banned outfit which reached a positive conclusion.