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Ban on TLP a violation of basic rights: opposition leaders

Question government's agreement with a 'terrorist group'

SAMAA | - Posted: Apr 14, 2021 | Last Updated: 5 months ago
Posted: Apr 14, 2021 | Last Updated: 5 months ago

Supporters of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party shout slogans during a protest against the arrest of their leader in Lahore on April 13, 2021. Photo: AFP

Opposition leaders have opposed a proposed ban on Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, with one member describing it as a “violation of basic human rights”.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed announced on Wednesday that the federal government had decided to ban the group under the Anti-Terrorism Act. The proposal will be tabled before the federal cabinet, he said.

Supporters of the religious party took to the streets Monday afternoon after TLP chief Saad Hussain Rizvi was arrested by the Lahore police. Main roads in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and other cities were blocked following the arrest, and people were stuck in traffic for hours.

On Tuesday, thousands of protesters clashed with the police. Four people were killed during protests in Karachi’s Orangi and Korangi. A police officer in Lahore was killed during the demonstration while hundreds of others were injured.

But opposition leaders opposed the move to ban the religious party. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Musadik Malik said the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had fueled unrest during the tenure of the former PML-N government.

Did the PML-N impose a ban, he questioned. The PML-N leader was speaking to SAMAA TV.

Related: Sindh issues orders to detain TLP leaders

“I understand that [this is] a violation of basic human rights,” he said. “Tell [us] the section under which a political party has been banned.”

Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl’s Hafiz Hamdullah said the ones who signed agreements with the TLP should be banned first.

“Who signed an agreement with the Tehreek-e-Labbaik,” Hamdullah asked. “Wasn’t a written agreement signed with them?”

He questioned if the government had not agreed to the demands laid by the TLP. “If it is a terrorist group then why did you sign an agreement?”

The JUI-F leader blamed the government for the closure of roads. He reminded the ruling party of the attack on parliament and torture of a senior police officer in Islamabad.

Hamdullah’s comment was a reference to the 2014 Islamabad sit-ins staged by the PTI and the subsequent unrest in the capital.

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