TLP Violent Protest Rallies and Sit-in: A continuous law and order threat to government

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Banned outfit Tehreek e Labaik Pakistan (TLP) a right wing religious political party with huge followers throughout the country is on its way to Islamabad to fulfill their demands. Currently they are demanding to set free their leader Saad Rizvi (who is jailed in Lahore), along with other demands including expulsion of the French ambassador from Pakistan on blasphemy/ cartoons issue. This party has a track record of violent demonstrations in Provincial Capital Lahore and in twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

On Oct 27, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, while addressing the press conference said that banned TLP would no longer be seen as a political and religious party but would be treated as a militant organization and dealt with like other radical organizations. He said “in cabinet meeting it has been decided to uphold the writ of the state. There is a limit to the patience of the State, for how long will the State and Nation bear these violent clashes? Challenging the state writ will not be tolerated at any cost”.

The Information Minister said that TLP is a banned organization and a militant group, make no mistake to consider State as ‘week’, these violent protests have happened 6 times before, the state has shown a lot of patience but not anymore.

Fawad Chaudhry said that 5 policemen have been martyred in three days, as armed men are the part of this mob; they directly fired on law enforcement agencies. It was decided in the cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister that now the State will treat this movement like any other terrorist organization.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has also refused to comply with all the demands of the banned TLP in the cabinet meeting and has decided to crack down on those blocking the roads. The PM has directed to deal strictly with those who obstruct the way.

Federal Interior Minister Shaikh Rasheed during a media briefing told “Under the Article 147 of constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, paramilitary troops ‘Rangers’ have been called in Punjab province for 2 months to maintain the law and order situation. Provincial government can use ‘Rangers’ whenever and wherever it wants, while the powers of the Anti-Terrorism Act are also being given to the Punjab government. ‘Rangers’ were called on the request of the Punjab government.

Mr. Sheikh Rashid has said that the federal government agrees with every demand of banned Tehreek-e-Libek Pakistan (TLP) but it is difficult to accept the demands of the expulsion of the French ambassador and closure of the French embassy. “If French ambassador has been expelled from the country, Pakistan would face many problems, moreover the French ambassador is not present in Pakistan and the French embassy could not be closed. I am afraid that TLP is banned in Pakistan and there is a fear that it may be banned internationally”, the Interior Minister told media men.

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IG Punjab Rao Sardar Ali Khan in an official statement has said that 5 policemen have been martyred and 263 injured in the aggressive protests by TLP. It cannot be allowed for a religious group to take the whole country hostage and impose its will on important national decisions.

Banned TLP has widened its scope of demand from 12 Rabi-ul-Awal (the date which is commemorated with Birth anniversary of Holy Prophet). Initially, the organization staged sit-ins in Multan and Lahore (the metropolitan cities of Punjab, the largest province of the country), after which a march towards Islamabad was announced. One of the demands of the TLP is the release of its leader Allama Saad Hussain Rizvi – Saad Rizvi is the son of Late Khadim Hussain Rizvi who is the founding father of TLP- while they are also demanding the deportation of the French ambassador from Pakistan.

Activists of the banned outfit marching towards Islamabad have set up camp on Wazirabad at GT Road –Grand Trunk Road-, protesters have started preparations to move the march forward, business centers, Shops and restaurants were also closed in the area and on the GT Road. Public and private educational institutions are not open in GT Road and adjoining areas. Internet service is also suspended in the locality.

Due to the banned organization’s long march towards Islamabad, the main highways connecting Rawalpindi and the federal capital are closed with containers. Due to obstacles, citizens, students, job seekers, laborers are facing severe difficulties while there are also complexities in transporting patients to the hospitals.

Faizabad Bridge- a junction point between Rawalpindi and Islamabad – has been closed by government authorities with the help of containers. Due to the potential threat of a law and order situation, a couple of universities have shifted their mode of classes from on campus to online, as many students cannot reach their universities in Islamabad.

Tabina Khan, 22 years old student of Quaid e Azam University, said that she lives in Rawalpindi; the government has closed the roads as precautionary measures to avoid TLP protesters entering Islamabad. “On Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021, I was on the university campus when I came to know that roads are no longer open. I was in deep water. All the time I was thinking how I would reach my residence. I used public transport and changed the busses for 3 times to reach my area. Moreover, I walked more than 7 Km to arrive at my home. It was a difficult day of my life” she was speaking to EAT News on telephone.

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Amna Gul, 18 years old college student, in an interview with EAT News said “To avoid any unpleasant incident the government has closed the main avenues in the city. On campus classes shifted to online, but the problem is with internet connectivity. I live in a suburban area of Islamabad where Internet speed is not good. So it is very hard to attend online classes, sometimes I am unable to listen to my teachers due to poor internet connection”.

Abdul Khaliq, the student of management science at International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) is very disappointed by the situation. He belongs to the rural area of Sindh province and currently living in a private hostel in Islamabad. During a conversation with EAT News he said, “Sometime I feel helpless as such sadistic events badly affect our education activities. When I see the injured security personnel in an aggressive crowd, it damages me psychologically. So I cannot pay proper attention to my studies. Government should take solid steps to prevent such kind of incidents”.

The EAT News team visited Faizabad – a bridging point between Islamabad and its twin city Rawalpindi- situation seemed quite disturbing as business activities were almost zero in the area.

Rab Nawaz, 48 years old shopkeeper, has a fruit shop at Faizabad. During discussion with Rab Nawaz told EAT News that he is not able to earn anything for one week. “Every day starts with hope and ends with disappointment. Roads are closed, I cannot go to the fruit market, and even if I was able to reach the fruit market no one can reach me as my shop is closed due to these protest rallies. I am really scared about my family. How I will feed my family. I have ambiguities about my future” Rab Nawaz was speaking to EAT News.

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Omar during telephonic conversation with EAT News claimed that “there is evidence of external support for the banned TLP, State tried to persuade the banned Tehreek-e-Libek through dialogue for some time, but the organization continued its brutal to violence. Government has decided to deal with iron hands if someone violates laws of the land”.

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Security forces have cordoned off major roads to halt protesters from reaching Islamabad, while protesters have been staging sit-ins on GT Road for the past several days, disrupting transport services. Violent Protest rally is still away from the capital. Government has dug the 12 foot long trench on main GT Road to create hurdles in their way to the capital.

Negotiations are still underway between the government and TLP. Government announced its doors are open for talks and dialogues. Demonstrators are still charged to march to Islamabad. Although the government is fully prepared to tackle the situation, there is uncertainty and chaos among the residents of the capital.

Experts believe that if dialogue sessions are not successful and the government uses force against the marcher it will add fuel to the fire. Law and order situation could be disturbed as TLP has a gigantic following in the country; so the government has to show patience to tackle the circumstances in a wise way to cool down the aggressive environment.

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By

Muhammad 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.

By

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

One thought on

TLP Violent Protest Rallies and Sit-in: A continuous law and order threat to government

  • Hasnain Syed

    Good effort

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