Outlawed group called off their sit-in on Tuesday
Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan workers called off their sit-in outside Lahore's Rehmatul Lil Alameen mosque after over a week. They were protesting against the arrest of their party chief Saad Hussain Rizvi.
TLP leader Maulana Shafiq Ameeni claimed that the government accepted the party's demands and tabled a resolution on the expulsion of the French ambassador. The release of Rizvi and other arrested workers has been ordered too, he added.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, while addressing a press conference on Tuesday, explained that the government will only release the workers who were arrested under the Maintenance of Public Order.
"Eight hundred policemen were injured in Punjab and five martyred during the protests," he claimed. "We won't forgive the people responsible for it." The workers who have been booked under rioting and murder cases won't be released.
Sources have revealed that the ban on the group is not being reversed. It was an official decision of the government. If the members want, then they can file an appeal against the decision within 30 days.
It was agreed that protest sites will be marked in all provinces so that the people are not inconvenienced in any way.
The government has reportedly also decided that western countries will be sensitized to the issue of blasphemy, and Islamic countries urged to take a stance against blasphemous content.
The TLP and government negotiations began after protracted protests from the political party and its supporters across Pakistan starting last week. The protests began over the publication of blasphemous caricatures in a French magazine. The TLP had been agitating from November and had been in talks with the government. However, when its chief Saad Rizvi planned to march on Islamabad, he was taken into custody. Protests broke out after that, especially in Lahore and Karachi.
The National Assembly of Pakistan adopted on Tuesday a resolution condemning blasphemous caricatures in a French magazine, hours after the outlawed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan and government reached an agreement.
The resolution condemned the publication of sacrilegious caricatures by Charlie Hebdo on Sept 1, 2020. Despite the severe reaction from the Muslim world when the magazine first published such caricatures in 2015, it again tried to hurt the sentiments of Muslims, it said.
The resolution demands:
In the end, it said that matters concerning international relations were the prerogative of the state, and no person, group, or party could exert pressure illegally when it came to this.
The resolution said that provincial governments should set aside public space for protests so that there are no disruptions caused to daily life.
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.