Top clerics announce support for banned group
Powerful clerics have called for a shutter-down strike across Pakistan today, Monday, in support of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan that was banned by the government for outbreaks of violence and protesting last week.
The former head of the moon-sighting Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam’s Fazlur Rehman both announced their support Sunday night.
Mufti Muneeb asked the government to release TLP workers and withdraw its ban on the group.
“I announce that after today’s incident, the French ambassador’s exit from Pakistan has been stopped,” said Fazlur Rehman. “I am clearly announcing that if the bodies of TLP martyrs are sent to Islamabad, we will be with them.”
He went on to say, “terrorists are not the ones who talk about the honor of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Terrorists are Imran Khan and his cabinet ministers.”
Early Monday Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed announced in a video message that the government had started talks with the TLP. The second round of talks will begin after sehri.
The TLP has released the 11 policemen it held hostage following clashes with the Lahore police on Sunday, Rasheed said, adding that the TLP men have gone to Rehmatul Lil Alameen mosque and the police have also retreated.
His video message came hours after he denied holding any negotiations with the banned party.
“We have been trying to reach a consensus with them for the past two months but they are not ready to compromise on their demands,” he said in a media talk on Sunday. “TLP has been served a notice of three days and has been given a month’s time to submit its response,” Rasheed added.
Police and rangers were put on high alert in Karachi. Public transporters and markets said they would not operate in the city. Karachi Additional IGP Ghulam Nabi Memon told Samaa Digital that the police have been told to allow protesters to observe a peaceful strike. He said that the police would respond accordingly if anyone tried to create a law and order situation in any part of Karachi.
Protesting broke out in Karachi at about 11pm on Sunday, according to SAMAA Digital reporter Aamir Majeed. Heavy contingent of police, Rangers took positions all over the city. Initially, the protests started in Liaquatabad and Mauripur Road. By night time a big crowd had gathered outside Darul Uloom-e-Amjadia in Nursery. Similar reports emerged from Orangi.
The protesters who gathered at Mauripur Road blocked the road leading to the port, said traffic police.
All the markets in Karachi will remain closed on Monday on the appeal of the ulema said the All City Traders Union Association and All Karachi Footwear Merchant Association. The same message was issued by Muhammad Hussain, the general secretary for the Transporters and Goods Association.
“This is a difficult announcement in the current business and commercial situation, but we cannot prioritise anything over honor,” said Hammad Poonawala, the president of the All City Traders Union and all its associations.
The Karachi Bar Association has called for a boycott of civil courts following the Lahore incident. The association has summoned a meeting of its general body at 11am. “We condemn the violence in Lahore,” General Secretary Umar Nawaz Warraich.
Mobile phone and internet services have been temporarily suspended in Lahore. Mobile data services have been suspended for the last five days in some areas.
Here are all the areas where the services remain suspended:
The government has reasonable grounds to believe that the TLP “engaged in terrorism, acted in a manner prejudicial to the peace and security of the country”, a notification issued by the Interior Ministry stated.
The religious group “intimidated the public, caused grievous bodily harm, hurt and death to the personnel of law enforcement agencies and innocent bystanders”, it added.
The party has been proscribed under section 11B (1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. It empowers the government to ban an organization involved in terrorism.
The ban will be placed under Section 11-B of the Ant-Terrorism Act, 1997, which gives the government powers to ban an organization involved or participating in terrorism.
Supporters of the religious party took to the streets earlier this week after their chief Saad Hussain Rizvi was arrested.
The Punjab government has blocked the national identity card of the TLP chief Saad Hussain Rizvi.
A notification issued by the Punjab Home Department on Sunday stated that the leader’s name has been placed under the Fourth Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
According to the act, any individual linked to a proscribed organisation can be restricted to limitations on travel, speech, and business. Here are the things Rizvi has been instructed to do as long as the order remains in force:
Under Section 11E of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, the government has sealed the offices and frozen the accounts of TLP as well. All literature, posters, banners or printed, electronic, digital, and other material have been seized.
TLP has been instructed to submit its income and expenditure for all social and political activities and disclose all its funding sources.
In a meeting of the Punjab Home Department on Saturday, it was suggested that the TLP chief’s and five other party supporter’s names should be placed on the Exit Control List. A request regarding the matter has been sent to the Interior Ministry.
The government banned the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan earlier this week for engaging in terrorism and creating a sense of fear and insecurity in the country.
Following this, the National Counter Terrorism Authority recommended the government to take over madrassas operated by the party and crack down on its sources of funding.