After violent protests countrywide Pakistan government decided to ban right religious party

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Pakistan Government Banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan(TLP) after its demand for exile of French Ambassador. To curb the extremism and militancy in the country, the Government has imposed a ban on TLP, a right wing religious political party. The discussion was made by the federal cabinet on the summary forwarded by the Punjab government. Punjab province is considered as a strong hub of TLP.

In November 2020, the said party started its violent protest in the country against France on blasphemy issues and demanded the exile of the French Ambassador from Pakistan. Last year an agreement was signed between TLP and the government to find a way forward. Government also conveyed to TLP that the issue would be taken up in parliament for further discussion and decision but there was a deadlock in negotiations. In Feb 2021, Party Chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi died; his son and successor Saad Hussain Rizvi took the control of TLP. Now Party leadership was in the hands of next generations but claims were the same ‘boycott of French goods and sending away the French ambassador from Pakistan’.

TLP continued its pressure on the government to fulfill its demands otherwise they will kick-off the countrywide protest and sit-in against the government. Keeping in view the prevailing situation, the government has decided to arrest TLP chief Saad Hussain Rizvi in Lahore (the capital city of Punjab province).

This decision worked as fuel to the fire; party workers hijacked the main avenues in almost all metropolitan cities of the country, which resulted in zero transportation in Pakistan. Same happened in federal capital Islamabad and its twin city Rawalpindi. In violent clashes with law enforcement agencies, three policemen were killed while more than three hundred were injured. After two days of fierce clashes the government imposed a ban on the TLP under anti terrorist act 1997 and started a crackdown against the party workers.

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On April 18, 2021 a massive confrontation was observed in Lahore between TLP workers and local police. According to Firdos Ashiq Awan, special assistant to Chief Minister Punjab, TLP workers kidnapped the police officials; in retaliation the state used power to enforce its writ. Media reported dozens of people were injured in this incident.

Interior Minister Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad while speaking to media men said, TLP has been banned under the antiterrorist act of 1997 rules 11. “If we accept their (TLP) demands it will negatively portray the image of Pakistan in the world. TLP will not be allowed any religious and political activity and the government is going to freeze its financial assets’ ‘, he said.

“Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) of TLP Chief Saad Hassan Rizvi has been blocked, his accounts and assets were freezed and his name is included in schedule four list,” said in a notification issued by the government. Schedule four is the list of proscribed persons; this list is updated by NACTA (National Counter Terrorism Authority)

On the other hand, common people faced a lot of problems due to this conflict. Natives of Islamabad and Rawalpindi say such kind grapples are harmful for business activities and cause a negative image of the country worldwide.

38 years old Usman Khan, holds a small general store at Faizabad.

While talking to Eat News he said, “We are already suffering due to the corona pandemic, my store remains closed for two days due to current collision. I am a poor man; I as well as other shopkeepers in the area cannot afford such kind conflicting activities which cut our daily income”.

The Prime Minister Imran Khan in his tweets said “Let me make clear to people here & abroad: Our government only took action against TLP under our anti-terrorist law when they challenged the writ of the state and used street violence & attacking the public & law enforcers. No one can be above the law and the Constitution.” The prime minister, in his statement, also criticized elements worldwide who he said indulge in Islamophobia and racist slurs “under the guise of freedom of speech” to hurt and cause pain to the 1.3 billion Muslims across the globe. “We Muslims have the greatest love & respect for our Prophet PBUH who lives in our hearts. We cannot tolerate any such disrespect & abuse,” he added. Imran Khan said that Jews have small population but they have made it clear that no negative discussion can take place on the Holocaust. “Four European countries put people in jail for speaking against [denial of] the Holocaust”, he added.

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Meanwhile Pakistan’s Prime Minister wrote letter to leaders of Muslim states to act collectively to counter the growing Islamophobia in non-Muslim states especially Western states causing increasing concern amongst Muslims the world over.

TLP came into existence in 2017 under the leadership of late Khadim Hussain Rizvi, after registration from Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the party contested the 2018 general election and secured 3 MPAs (member provincial assembly) seats and became the 5th largest vote securing party in the country.

Talking to Eat News former additional secretary Election Commission of Pakistan Muhammad Afzal Khan told as per constitution 1973, government can impose ban on any party which is involved in anti state activities or receiving foreign funding.

In such cases according to laws of the land it is a sitting government, which files an application to the election commission of Pakistan and provides sufficient evidence to de-notify any organization. “Constitution of Pakistan does not permit any individual to file a petition against any party to de-notify it or cancel the registration”, he said. In case Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) de-notifies TLP and its MPAs, by-elections will be held on vacant constituencies.

A resolution is present in the National assembly of Pakistan for the expulsion of French Ambassador from the country. It is decided that a special parliamentary committee will be constructed for debate on said issue. Yet more discussions and debates are expected in upcoming weeks on said issue in Parliament.

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Mohammad Farhan Niazi is a correspondent for Eat News in Pakistan and is an experienced senior producer with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry. Skilled in feature and news writing, non-linear editing, radio, multimedia journalism, Online journalism, film production, and sound. Strong media and communication professional graduated from University of Peshawar.

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Eat News is a Taiwanese digital media, analyzes current events and issues through column articles, videos, visual aid, and exclusive interviews.

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