Says it engaged in terrorism, created fear and insecurity
The federal government has formally proscribed the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan for engaging in terrorism and creating a sense of fear and insecurity in the country.
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”, the Interior Ministry said in a notification.
The religious group “intimidated the public, caused grievous bodily harm, hurt and death to the personnel of law enforcement agencies and innocent bystanders”, it said.
The party has been proscribed under section 11B (1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. It empowers the government to ban an organisation involved in terrorism.
Earlier in the day, the federal cabinet approved the Interior Ministry’s summary to ban the party.
A notification of the order will be issued by the ministry later in the day. The ban will be placed under Section 11-B of the Ant-Terrorism Act, 1997, which gives the government powers to ban an organisation involved or participating in terrorism.
The Federal Cabinet comprises 32 elected and 18 unelected members.
On Wednesday, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed announced that Pakistan has decided to ban the religious party. A summary of the order has been approved by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
According to it, the religious group damaged 30 vehicles of law enforcement agencies, while two police officers were killed in violent protests across Punjab.
Protests in major cities across Pakistan erupted on April 12 after TLP workers took to the streets. They were protesting against the arrest of their chief Saad Hussain Rizvi. Main roads in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and other cities were blocked following his arrest, and people were stuck in traffic for hours.
After continuing for two days, an operation to disperse the protesters began on Wednesday. After a joint operation by the police and Rangers, roads have been cleared.
So far, at least 115 FIRs have been registered and 2,063 workers arrested. In Punjab, 1669 workers were arrested, 228 in Sindh, 193 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 43 in Islamabad, the summary added.
Before the TLP, Pakistan had two Barelvi political groups: the Sunni Tehreek and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan. (Barelvi as opposed to Deoband). None of them was mainstream, explains Sabookh Syed, an Islamabad-based analyst who monitors such groups. “The JUP and Sunni Tehreek never fielded candidates all over the country but the TLP did in the last election.”
There is only one man who deserves credit for making TLP mainstream and that was Allama Rizvi, said Syed. Of course, every religious group tried to erect Mumtaz Qadri as their symbol but they all failed where Rizvi succeeded. “He had a charismatic personality and an aggressive unique style of delivering sermons that made him the centre of attraction.”
Syed said in his opinion it would be an uphill task for his son to mimic such style and aggression and the party could lose support in the next elections.