News Analysis |
In the latest development, an Anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore rejected Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) Chief, Khadim Hussain Rizvi’s request for bail on Monday. The TLP leader was booked in a case lodged against him for launching a violent protest against the acquittal of Ms. Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman falsely accused of committing blasphemy. Moreover, Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA) chief Pir Afzal Qadri’s request for bail was also rejected by the ATC.
Mr. Rizvi’s legal counsel argued before the court that since the police have completed the investigation and health conditions of his client are not very well, therefore, the court should set free Mr. Rizvi on bail. After hearing arguments, the ATC rejected the petition and ordered to keep Mr. Rizvi in the custody of law police.
Now the rejection of bail petition by the ATC has proven the point that the government is no longer interested in signing any agreement with extremist forces in the country.
It is pertinent to mention that the government had taken the TLP chief and others into “protective custody” on November 23 from Lahore. However, later, they were handed over to police for investigation. Afterward, they were sent on judicial remand. Mr. Rizvi, Mr. Qadri as well as Allama Farooq ul Hassan and Allama Aijaz Ashrafi are facing charges of fueling the protests, inciting followers to damage property and making hate speeches targeting state institutions.
Earlier on 10th Feb, some reports in local media suggested that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had finally reached an agreement with the leadership of the TLP. “Maulana Khadim Hussain Rizvi and Pir Afzal Qadri would soon be released”, Pakistan Today reported.
Read more: Crackdown on TLP continues: Is the end near?
Analysts suggested that the PTI government did not afford any deal with the TLP leadership for two reasons. Firstly, the party has also focused on a moderate version of Islam and professed progressive Islamic values hence it would have possibly not signed any deal with an extremist Sunni religio-political party.
Secondly, the Supreme Court of Pakistan recently penned a powerful judgment and grilled the TLP for its extremist version of Islam and misuse of religion for its vested political interest. Political commentators, therefore, rubbished reports of a deal between the TLP and PTI. Now the rejection of bail petition by the ATC has proven the point that the government is no longer interested in signing any agreement with extremist forces in the country.
GVS approached G.M Pitafi, a Lahore-based Political Analyst and a visiting faculty lecturer, for his comments on the decision of the ATC. “It was quite expected. Gone are the days when executives used to dictate courts. Now, the courts are independent and give verdicts without any political pressure or external dictation,” Mr. G.M said. While responding to the question that how will TLP react to the decision Mr. G.M explained, saying, “What the TLP can do at the moment? There is nothing in the hands of TLP anymore.
It wants to have a deal but both the establishment and incumbent government do not trust Mr. Rizvi. Therefore, I think the role of TLP in Pakistan’s politics will considerably get lessened in the coming days.” Moreover, Mr.G.M also made it clear that the situation is going to remain peaceful since the law enforcement agencies have already taken many TLP workers into custody.