LAHORE: The 11 policemen, who were taken hostage in Lahore by the proscribed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) have been released after successful negotiations carried out by the Punjab government, said Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed on Monday.
The minister, in a video statement, informed that the “first round of talks” concluded in a “successful manner” following which the policemen were released and the protesters had gone inside the Masjid Rehmatulil Alameen.
Rasheed said that the police had also been withdrawn.
Hoping that other matters would also be resolved in the next round of talks, the federal minister maintained that out of 192 blockades, only one was remaining and the situation was improving there as well.
“Talks have begun with the banned TLP and the first phase has ended on a positive note. The second round of talks will begin in the morning, ” Rasheed stated.
He hoped that matters would be settled amicably.
12 policemen held hostage
CM Punjab’s aide Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan had earlier said that “miscreants” armed with petrol bombs attacked the Nawankot Police Station, taking 12 policemen hostage while injuring six others.
The CM Punjab’s aide, in a statement shared by Lahore Police said that Rangers and police personnel were trapped inside the police station due to the attack.
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.
‘Action to be taken in self-defence’
According to the police statement, the law enforcers pushed back the miscreants and took back possession of the police station.
“Police did not plan or conduct any operation against the mosque or madrassah. The action, if any, was in self-defence and to protect public property,” read the statement.
Awan warned that any action taken was in self-defence and to rescue the police officers taken hostage.
Apart from attacking the police station and kidnapping officials, the miscreants also stole an oil tanker carrying 50,000 litres of petrol, she had said.