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Protests

Crackdown on TLP sparks mass exodus from movement

TLP leaders are being charged with sedition and terrorism over protests and inciting violence after the Supreme Court acquitted a Christian woman of blasphemy.

By Abdul Nasir Khan


Supporters of Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), a hardline religious party, gather on a blocked street during a protest following the Supreme Court's decision to acquit Christian woman Asia Bibi of blasphemy, in Karachi November 2. [Asif Hassan/AFP]

Supporters of Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), a hardline religious party, gather on a blocked street during a protest following the Supreme Court's decision to acquit Christian woman Asia Bibi of blasphemy, in Karachi November 2. [Asif Hassan/AFP]

LAHORE -- Pakistani authorities over the weekend charged members of Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), a hardline religious political party known for whipping up anger over blasphemy issues, with sedition and terrorism.

Officials have filed the charges against Khadim Hussain Rizvi and other TLP leaders for their involvement in destructive activities, inciting the public to commit violence, Fawad Chaudhry, federal minister for information and broadcasting, said in Islamabad Saturday (December 1).

Rizvi and his party held protests after the Supreme Court overturned in October the death penalty for Asia Bibi, a Christian woman whom it acquitted of blasphemy charges.

In an October 31 news conference in Lahore, Rizvi and another TLP leader, Afzal Qadri, called for the murder of the three Supreme Court judges who acquitted Asia Bibi and urged army officers to overthrow Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Demonstrators blocked major roads in protest, burning cars and buses, and leaving large swaths of the country paralysed as they called for Bibi's execution.

Crackdown hits TLP

Rizvi was detained November 24 after police cracked down on hundreds of his supporters in Punjab Province and the port city of Karachi.

The police subsequently arrested more than 3,000 TLP members and their leaders as part of a nationwide crackdown during the last week of November.

"The law enforcement agencies arrested 2,899 TLP workers from different Punjab districts, 139 from Sindh and 126 from the Capital Territory of Islamabad," Chaudhry said.

Rivzi was charged with treason and terrorism, while Qadri was charged with inciting violence in Gujrat. Enayat ul Haq Shah and and Hafiz Farooqul Hassan face similar charges in Rawalpindi, according to Chaudhry.

"The TLP leaders violated the law and constitution during their countrywide strike in the first week of November," he said. "They were involved in the destruction of state property -- which caused a loss of Rs. 50 million [$360,000]."

The TLP emerged after it protested the February 2016 execution of Mumtaz Qadri, the murderer of Salman Taseer, a governor of Punjab who supported Bibi, Qazzafi Butt, a senior journalist covering religious political parties and groups in Lahore, told Pakistan Forward.

The group also held demonstrations in Faizabad in Rawalpindi in November last year against an amendment that altered some wording in the oath, where candidates avow that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the last prophet, according to Butt. The government withdrew the amendment, and Minister of Law and Justice Zahid Hamid resigned under pressure.

Cutting TLP links

The crackdown on the TLP has forced members underground, while others have left the group, said Butt.

"The TLP is not an organised party like others; it only plays on the masses' religious sentiments, and so far it has been successful in attracting them, especially on the issue of blasphemy," he said.

"TLP has no organised roots in the masses -- that's why when it faced a crackdown, its workers had to opt for other groups," Asim Naseer, a Lahore-based senior journalist and analyst, told Pakistan Forward.

Some TLP workers have announced they are cutting ties with the TLP through newspaper advertisements, Naseer said.

"My two brothers were affiliated with the TLP, but now they have left this group," Tanveer, a Lahore resident, told Pakistan Forward. "We have assured the police that we have nothing to do with the TLP."

His brothers need "to publish advertisements to announce their disassociation with TLP in different newspapers", Tanveer said.

Dr. Asif Ashraf Jalali, a founding member of the TLP, is among those who have split from the group and Rizvi. He has formed his own splinter group.

"We believe in peaceful and democratic protest, and this is our main difference with Rizvi, who always calls for violence," Jalil Baig, a spokesman for Jalali, told Pakistan Forward.

"We have denounced the statements uttered by Khadim Rizvi and Afzal Qadri against the army and judges and have said that we are not in favour of such statements by TLP leadership," Baig added.

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Comment bubble | 12-12-2018

Whole the report has been presented on the basis of lie; reality is on the contrary. Love for TLP has increased in the hearts of people.

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Comment bubble | 12-12-2018

Your report has been designed at your will and you have also achieved your objective in it by ignoring a lot of true facts. Whatever you wish to show.

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Comment bubble | 12-11-2018

Curse on everyone who is a supporter of Asia

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Reply comment | 12-12-2018

Lawyers’ community also suggests in the case of the cursed Asia that decision of the chief is full of errors. They have betrayed Islam and the divine power will penalize them soon. TLP is an organized party, no incident of violence is proven at this party that the leaders have backed any such activity or they have ignited the workers for any such activity. If you have any proof then present it. There are proper videos of Imran Khan igniting his workers. Why any such case or proceedings have not been lodged against them. Is there an answer?

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Comment bubble | 12-11-2018

You media persons don’t have any indignity you are also like the people who even sell their mothers for money. You will witness that the name of Khadim Hussain Rizvi will live long and the false will be fallen and disgraced, the time will. Allah is great curer and is merciful upon his slaves.

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Comment bubble | 12-11-2018

1. This article is extreme lie; the whole writing is good example of mythomania. Dr. Ashraf Asif Jalali is already working separately his Faizabad sit-in was also separate. 2. Nasir Khan : You don’t have any information and news about the movement. I condemn use of term, "extremists"; Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan lives is in the hearts of Muslims. 3. LABBAIK YA RASOOL ALLAH

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Comment bubble | 12-11-2018

Actually TLP is a second face of TTP, hence, keeping in view the security of public’s lives and property, the government of Pakistan should teach this scoundrel and all of his party a lesson.

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Comment bubble | 12-10-2018

I am a dedicated worker of Labaik. No one has left Labaik, you have written it wrongly and all of it is a lie.

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Comment bubble | 12-10-2018

Change your name from Pakistan Asia to Pakistan Asia; you media persons don’t have any indignity you are also like the people who even sell their mothers for money But be hold, you will witness that the name of Khadim Hussain Rizvi will live long and the false will be fallen and disgraced, the time will show and you will witness it soon; Allah is great curer and is merciful upon his slaves.

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Comment bubble | 12-09-2018

Your cheap thinking But you don’t feel ashamed

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Comment bubble | 12-09-2018

TPL was an extremist party. Eliminating such party is the duty of every government.

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Comment bubble | 12-08-2018

Extremely cheap And this is a false manuscript. TLP has become even more organized. With the grace of Allah, the system of Prophet Mohammad PBUH will soon be implemented in Pakistan, and we will soon get rid of such pro-qadyani and pro-Jew rulers.

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Comment bubble | 12-08-2018

Written with extreme lie; whole writing is based on lie. Dr. Ashraf Asif Jalali is already working separately his Faizabad sit-in was also separate… I don’t know why these media persons lie --- shame

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Comment bubble | 12-08-2018

Imran divorcee is an ignorant leader of the ignorant. Curse curse curse curse curse on such government.

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Comment bubble | 12-08-2018

The great leader in the Islamic history hazrat allama Molina khadim Hussain rizvi

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Comment bubble | 12-08-2018

It’s a bunch of lies, just to misguide the public; but behold, slaves of Prophet have woke up they cannot be lured.

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Comment bubble | 12-08-2018

I think this media is Qadyani

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Comment bubble | 12-07-2018

You don’t have any information and news about the movement; first of all I would condemn for saying extremists and secondly, saying that they don’t have roots in public is your disinformation; Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan is a peaceful party, the strongest argument is that if we consider that government’s facts and figures are correct, even then, if all the leaders of a party getting 2.6 million votes are arrested through tearing apart the constitution and ceasing their basic rights and still there had been no retaliation, and despite 3 killings, there was no road blocked, neither came any statement; anyhow Pakistan is our country and we have to safeguard it, and Islam is our religion and even our life is not enough for it we will not compromise on both of them. Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah

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Comment bubble | 12-07-2018

It doesn’t suit a democratic government in a democracy to captivate upon protest and to imprison the leader of a party that gathered 2,500,000 votes. There have been demonstrations in France, had the French government labeled them with treason? Arrest Manzoor Pashteen Achakzai, but such treatment with clerics is not right; it would have no benefit but to increase hatred; keep in mind that I am a supporter of Tehrek-e-Insaf, but prohibiting my party from wrong is my duty. I have worked for my party now it hurts when I see such deeds from my party; in such situation, we would loose religious vote bank in next elections, as happened with Nawaz Sharif; and religious vote is always decisive. For Allah’s sake don’t make my Khan another Musharraf.

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Comment bubble | 12-06-2018

It was an attempt to defame the movement in a very cheap manner; but remember despite all that propaganda, the movement will be even strengthened. The days of this selected government have been counted, who arrested the clerics and supported the blasphemer. Victory will be for true. May Allah keep Babaji safe Amen.

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Comment bubble | 12-05-2018

Alas! You are also writing the same that the grafter media talks in support of Qadyanis. You might have forgot the U-Turn of Imran government that they renounced upon their promise.

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Comment bubble | 12-05-2018

This is all crap. I am a supporter of PMLN and this is a group which is wrong. If you are such a true supporter of Islam, then reconstruct your belief. O atrocious! Have fear from God, be with Prophet PBUH or decide about such blasphemer all by yourself.

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Reply comment | 12-09-2018

Either we are linked with TLP or PTI, PMLN, PPP or any of the political parties, but neither we like any tweaks with the religion, nor we may and will tolerate any disrespect with Prophet Muhammad PBUH. Our courts and rulers may take such cheap and unjust decisions after becoming toys in the hands of foreign powers, but we have the courage to declare wrong as wrong and we will keep on protesting verbally and practically, even if we have to scarify our lives. We will be satisfied that God has made us do some good deed in life in shape of reacting against those who showed disrespect to the master.

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Reply comment | 12-10-2018

At your service! At your service! O prophet! At your service! Offspring of Jews write such false news

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