PTI Senator Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry on Saturday met Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi as a "gesture of goodwill" and to congratulate him on his release from jail.
Rizvi was released on Thursday from Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail after the withdrawal of a reference filed in the Supreme Court's federal review board regarding his detention and the removal of his name from the Fourth Schedule — a list of proscribed individuals who are suspected of terrorism or sectarianism under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997 — last week.
TLP spokesperson Ibn-e-Ismail confirmed the meeting that took place at Rehmatul Lil Alameen Mosque in Lahore, saying that the senator presented a bouquet of flowers to Rizvi, and also visited the grave of his father, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, whose urs is being held at the mosque till November 21 (tomorrow).
The spokesperson added that the process of political dialogue "always continues".
Meanwhile, talking to the media, Chaudhry said that he met the TLP chief as per his promise. "It is our responsibility to be in contact with the leadership that has a different past than the leadership of other political parties."
The PTI senator said it was the state's responsibility to have "pleasant" relations with all factions of the public to "avoid misunderstandings and ensure consensus, peace and calm".
"You will remember that when the agreement [between the government and the TLP] was reached, I had expressed satisfaction and prayed and wished that it got safely implemented."
"You saw it was implemented and today I was here to meet him," he added.
The TLP and the federal government reached an agreement on October 31 after many rounds of talks and two weeks of clashes which left seven policemen and scores of TLP workers dead. The agreement was kept secret, and it still is, but leaked information suggested consensus on removing the party from the list of the proscribed organisations, Rizvi's release and setting TLP workers free that were held under various charges including anti-terrorism.
A week later, on November 7, the federal cabinet decided to revoke the declaration putting the TLP on the list of “proscribed” organisations under the country’s anti-terrorism law.