Wed, 08 Dec 2021

Islamabad [Pakistan], October 22 (ANI): A proscribed hardline Islamist group-- Tehreek-i-Labbik Pakistan (TLP)-- has announced that it will start a "long march" towards Islamabad on Friday against the detention of its chief Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi.

"The peaceful Namoos-i-Risalat march of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan towards Islamabad will start after Friday prayers" from the TLP's Markaz (headquarters), the statement said, adding that the group also had a "plan B" in case its members were stopped from marching on the capital, Dawn reported.

Hundreds of TLP workers have been participating in a sit-in in Lahore to exert pressure on the Punjab government for the release of its chief, Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi, the son of its late founder Khadim Rizvi. The younger Rizvi has been kept in detention by the Punjab government since April 12 for "maintenance of public order".

In a statement issued prior to the announcement of the long march, the TLP's Majlis-i-Shura (executive council) had decried that the group's members had been staging a "peaceful protest" in the streets for the past 15 days, yet their demand for the implementation of an agreement reached between them and the government earlier this year remained unmet.

Rizvi has been detained by the Punjab government since April 12 for "maintenance of public order (MPO)". He was initially detained for three months and then again under the Anti-Terrorist Act on July 10. A federal review board is scheduled to take up the government's reference against him on October 23, as per the publication.

A division bench of the Lahore High Court is yet to be constituted to hear an appeal of the government against a decision of a single bench that had set aside the detention of the TLP leader.

On October 12, the Supreme Court had suspended the operations of the single bench's order and remanded the case for a fresh decision by a division bench.

In April, anti-France protests broke out in Pakistan where the supporters of banned TLP took to the streets to protest against France over the caricatures of Prophet Muhammad.

The protests soon turned violent and exposed the grim security situation in Pakistan.

During the violent protests, hundreds of protesters and police personnel were injured and thousands of TLP activists and supporters were arrested and booked for attacking law enforcement personnel and blocking main roads and highways.

Several police vehicles were torched, buildings were attacked and policemen were kidnapped and tortured by the activists of the TLP across the Punjab province, with at least six policemen killed and over 800 injured.

The banned party, led by cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi gained popularity over the issue of blasphemy among the masses, specifically concerning Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer over blasphemy accusations writes Sulman Ali in an opinion piece for Pakistan Daily. (ANI)

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