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April 16, 2021

Govt outlaws TLP as terrorist organisation

Top Story

 
April 16, 2021

Ag APP

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Thursday approved banning religious party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) as a terrorist organisation, the Minister for Interior announced, after days of violent protests left two policemen dead and hundreds injured.

Interior minister Sheikh Rashid made the announcement in a news conference alongside Minister for Religious Affairs Noor-ul-Haq Qadri here, where he stressed there would be no leniency for the party that he described as harbouring “dangerous intentions” for Pakistan.

He said after the summary’s approval, a reference will be filed in the Supreme Court for the party’s dissolution. A notification proscribing the TLP was issued shortly after.

The proscription follows days of violence across the country, in which workers of the party blocked roads and clashed with law enforcement after their leader, Saad Rizvi, was taken into custody after negotiations with the government broke down. “They were adamant on coming [to the Faizabad Interchange] for the fourth time,” Rashid said, referring to the party’s supporters. “This is why we took decisions to prevent that.”

The minister paid tribute to police officers and law enforcement personnel who got injured in the clashes and promised he would visit the homes of those who were martyred and those wounded.

Rashid said the violence was unfortunate as the government was willing to negotiate with protesters. He said the government had not backed away from its promise to present a resolution of its demands in Parliament. When he spoke, Minister for Religious Affairs Noor-ul-Haq Qadri said the government was holding sincere talks with TLP on moving a resolution in Parliament but their “rigid attitude” was the main reason behind the failure in dialogue.

He, too, criticised the TLP’s reaction on Rizvi’s arrest as inappropriate and against the teachings of Islam. Qadri said: “Our commitment is only with the sovereignty of Pakistan and no one is above the law.

“We were in talks with them with an open heart for the last four months on moving a resolution in Parliament as per their demands and never tried to avoid it.”

He said there were some points that needed discussion related to diplomatic matters and their aftermath but during the dialogue process, reliable sources confirmed that the TLP was also planning to hold a sit-in at Faizabad on April 20, which was unethical at the time of the dialogue process and without waiting to the conclusion of the dialogue.

“We offered them to make a parliamentary committee to start working on making the draft of the resolution with consensus but they were insisting to just do only what they want. Despite creating issues from their side we tried our level best to resolve this matter through dialogue.” He added TLP was not willing to prepare any parliamentary committee for making a draft despite several requests from the government side. Qadri said for the last two years there were on-going political discussions with the leadership of TLP with the hope to see this party play its political role in the country’s politics.