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November 5, 2018

Police register over a dozen cases against TLP leadership, protesters


November 5, 2018

Following the agreement between the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and the federal government, the police, on the directives of the Centre, have started lodging cases against protesters for their sit-ins and demonstrations in over 30 locations across Karachi. Over a dozen cases were registered until Sunday.

Although no arrest has been made yet, the police say they would pick up the suspects with the help of CCTV camera footage and social media.

The TLP and other religio-political parties had paralysed the metropolis for three consecutive days to protest the acquittal of Asia Bibi in a nine-year-old blasphemy case, but the protests ended after peaceful negotiations between the TLP leadership and the federal administration late on Friday night.

The cases against the protesters have been registered over their violation of Section 144 (which prohibits pillion riding, rallies, gathering of four persons and carrying or displaying weapons) and closing the city’s thoroughfares and highways.

Sources said that following the directives of the federal government, a high-level meeting was held at the Central Police Office that was presided over by Sindh police chief IGP Dr Syed Kaleem Imam. They decided registering cases against the protesters who had violated the law.

The cases were registered at different police stations across the city, including Soldier Bazaar, Baloch Colony, Korangi Industrial Area, Garden, Kharadar, Airport, Sachal and Steel Town. A police official said that in some of the cases, the local TLP leadership was also nominated, adding that the police will make arrests with the help of CCTV camera footage and protest videos that were widely circulated on social media websites.

“We have started our homework,” District East police chief Ghulam Azhar Mahesar told The News. “We have already registered cases against unidentified persons and now we are trying to ascertain their identities with the help of footage.”

The officer also asked the citizens to approach the police for the registration of cases if any of them have faced any losses because of the protesters. Meanwhile, local TLP leaders have condemned the registration of cases against the party’s leadership and protesters. “The government, instead of releasing our arrested men in accordance with our deal with the government, are registering cases against us, which is an open violation of the legal agreement,” said TLP leader Mufti Muhammad Qasim Fakhri.

Protesting against the Supreme Court verdict, Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq on Sunday announced starting ‘Hurmat-e-Rasool Tehreek’ together with other like-minded religio-political parties in the country.

Addressing protesters on University Road, Haq said that a democratic Pakistan had rejected the SC decision. He said his party will bring all religious people and parties on the same page in its movement to get Asia punished under the blasphemy law.

The JI chief claimed that Prime Minister Imran Khan wants to increase his vote bank by speaking against the parties who disagree with the ruling of the country’s top court.

His party’s march began from Masjid Baitul Mukarram and ended at Hasan Square. Severe traffic mess was caused on the thoroughfare as the demonstrators blocked one side of the road.

Meanwhile, the TLP that has been leading the movement against the SC decision has warned the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) federal government against allegedly deviating from the agreement it had made with the protesters.

Addressing a gathering at the party’s local headquarters, the TLP’s parliamentary leader in the Sindh Assembly Mufti Fakhri said the government is violating the terms of the agreement by booking party leaders and workers in criminal cases and arresting them for vandalising public property during their protests.

He claimed that although the unannounced ban on the media coverage of the protests amounted to violating their constitutional right, they, unlike the PTI and its allies, did not resort to violence and ransacking media houses. He said the authorities were even barring protesters from using social media to state their opinions.

Separately, speaking to a condolence reference for Maulana Samiul Haq, the chief of his faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, who was stabbed to death under mysterious circumstances at his Islamabad residence, Wifaqul Madaris al Arabia President Maulana Dr Abdul Razzaq Iskander said Haq was a proponent of Muslims’ solidarity and there could be foreign forces behind his murder.

“Everyone knows the efforts the Maulana played in uniting Muslims and ending disputes among them, and his murder is a conspiracy to put the country into disarray to weaken its ideological basis,” he said. “The security institutions must take notice of the plot behind this incident.”

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