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TLP ends Lahore sit-in as govt accedes to demands

National Assembly to debate expulsion of French ambassador

SAMAA | and - Posted: Apr 20, 2021 | Last Updated: 5 months ago
SAMAA | and
Posted: Apr 20, 2021 | Last Updated: 5 months ago

Photo: Online

The outlawed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan has ended its sit-in outside Lahore’s Rehmat-ul-lil-Aalimeen mosque, a party leader announced Tuesday evening.

The government has accepted the TLP’s demand and tabled a resolution on the expulsion of the French ambassador, TLP leader Maulana Shafiq Ameeni said.

It has also ordered the release of TLP chief Saad Hussain Rizvi and arrested workers, Ameeni added.

The National Assembly passed a resolution condemning the blasphemous caricatures in a French magazine, mere hours after the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan and government reached an agreement after talks Monday night to tackle the violence that had broken out.

By Tuesday afternoon, a resolution was passed in the National Assembly that the House condemned the publication of the sacrilegious caricatures by Charlie Hebdo on Sept 1, 2020. Despite severe reaction from the Muslim world when the magazine first published such caricatures in 2015, it again tried to hurt the sentiments of Muslims.

The resolution demands:
1. The expulsion of the French ambassador should be debated in parliament
2. All European countries, especially France, should be conveyed the seriousness of the matter.
3. All Muslim countries should be consulted and this issue should be jointly presented before the international community.

In the end it says 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.

It said that provincial governments should set aside public space dedicated to protests so that there are no disruptions caused to daily life.

Related: PPP boycotts National Assembly session on French ambassador resolution

There were reports on social media that TLP chief Saad Rizvi had been released from Kot Lakhpat jail. However, the jail authorities denied this was the case and they had yet to receive release orders.

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.

These were the points of discussion (This is a developing story):

  • The TLP will end its sit-in.
  • Its workers and chief Saad Hussain Rizvi will be released.
  • The government will table a resolution regarding the expulsion of the French ambassador in parliament.
  • The ban on the party will be withdrawn.

The TLP Shura was scheduled to make the announcement at 11am at the sit-in outside Rehmat ul Aalimeen mosque.

The government will table a resolution in parliament to expel the French ambassador, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed and the TLP confirmed.

After the third round of talks, Rasheed said in a statement that the government will withdraw all cases against the TLP leaders and workers. This too was confirmed by the spokesperson Salman Haider.

A source in the TLP, who requested anonymity, told SAMAA Digital that the government has also agreed to reversing the ban on the group. The group’s spokesperson or the government did not comment on it.

Sheikh Rasheed said the TLP has agreed to end the sit-in and protests. The TLP has not made any such announcement.

Timeline of TLP protests 

  • November: TLP stages Islamabad sit-in over blasphemous caricatures in a French magazine. Ends protest after government says it will expel French ambassador.
  • February: TLP threatens protest in Islamabad as the government does not implement the agreement.
  • April 12: TLP chief Saad Rizvi plans protests. Is arrested
  • April 13: Protests break out over Saad Rizvi’s arrest, policemen killed, cases registered against TLP supporters
  • April 14: Government bans TLP, protests continue
  • April 18: TLP chief Saad Rizvi’s CNIC blocked, assets seized, clashes intensify
  • April 18-19: Top clerics announce support for TLP, countrywide strike declared
  • April 20: Government to table resolution in the National Assembly for the expulsion of French ambassador.

Pakistan bans TLP

On Thursday, the government formally proscribed the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan

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.

Read: Pakistan has banned TLP. What will happen next?

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.

Saad Rizvi’s CNIC blocked

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: 

  • Execute a band for his good behavior and not get involved in any act of terrorism 
  • Not in any manner advance the objectives of the organisation (TLP) with one or more sureties not less than Rs500,000 
  • Submit his passport to the police
  • Take permission from the police before leaving his house and inform them about his whereabouts 
  • Report himself as and when required to the police station
  • Money and property owned by the party or Rizvi will be seized or frozen 
  • The assets of his family members will be probed by the Counter-Terrorism Department
  • His activities will be monitored and kept under surveillance 

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.

Government holds talks with TLP

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.

Clashes erupted Sunday

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.

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