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December 2, 2018

TLP leaders booked for terrorism, treason: Fawad

Top Story

December 2, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry Saturday said that Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi had been booked under treason and terrorism charges at Lahore's Civil Lines Police Station.

Apprising the media here of actions taken against the TLP leadership in the wake of their agitation, the minister noted that legal action had also been initiated against other top leaders of the party. He explained that Afzal Qadri had been booked under treason and terrorism charges in Gujrat, Inayatul Haq Shah under treason and anti-terrorism charges in Rawalpindi and Hafiz Farooqul Hassan has also been booked under similar charges.

He continued that all the suspects, who were directly involved in the destruction of the state property, causing a loss of Rs50 million, and misbehaving with citizens during the TLP-led protests were being booked under terrorism charges at relevant police stations.

The minister said that a total of 2,899 people were taken into protective custody from across Punjab while 139 persons from Sindh and 126 from Islamabad were also taken into custody. If convicted by courts, he contended, the suspects could be sentenced to life in prison under sedition and terrorism charges. The minister talked about those who were involved in misbehaving with women on roads, looting vendors and torching properties and vehicles during the TLP protests. He asserted that the TLP’s politics was not only against the law, but also against the Constitution. He made it clear that the principles and the codes were thrashed out by the state. But TLP through its agitation, attempted to destroy the system, and play with life and property of people, which could not be allowed. He said the people involved in such acts would be dealt with sternly.

Referring to the international Rehmatul lil Alameen Conference, the minister said that the religious scholars from various schools of thought attended the event and said that the devotees of the Holy Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) could not harm property or life of others and instead they would be protectors of both.

However, he maintained that large number of people among the more than 3,000 taken into custody were not directly involved in the violence and therefore they would be released after taking their assurances not to participate in such activities in the future.

Fawad made it clear that the government would allow protests that protect the rights of people, but that the state would not remain silent on a protests that violate the rights of people and are beyond the ambit of the Constitution and law. He insisted that the government had tried to convince the TLP leadership to keep their agitation within the limits of the law and the Constitution, but it did not pay heed.

The minister said the TLP through its protests, which started with its 20-day sit-in at Faizabad interchange in November last year, caused harm to people’s lives and properties despite the government efforts to convince the party to protest peacefully. However, he said, the protesters had challenged the Constitution.

He explained that a joint operation was thus launched against the party in which all institutions and intelligence agencies participated. He and added that even major opposition parties were also on board in this context. He thanked the opposition parties and the media which supported the state during the crackdown.

“We have serious differences with the opposition on several issues, but on this particular issue, they supported the government, as it was a matter of the state and not of politics,” he noted.