The government has started the process to freeze the assets of the proscribed organization, Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP). Earlier, the Ministry of Interior issued a notification in which it said the TLP “is engaged in terrorism, acted in a manner prejudicial to the peace and security of the country and is involved in creating anarchy in the country by intimidating the public.”
Geo News reported that the passports and bank accounts of the central leadership of the TLP will be blocked, adding that such actions are being taken as per rule 11-E of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.
Arms licenses issued to the organisation’s leadership and workers will be suspended as well, said sources. The State Bank of Pakistan and provincial revenue departments will play their role in freezing the assets of the organisation.
When these steps are taken, TLP members will not be able to buy or sell land and neither will they be able to access their bank accounts. The government has, as per sources, written to the relevant authorities in all four provinces to freeze the party’s assets.
Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed had said that the designs of the TLP, that had recently held protests in various cities of Pakistan, were “dangerous”. “They were adamant on coming [to the Faizabad Interchange] for the fourth time,” he had said, referring to the organisation’s supporters. “This is why we took decisions to prevent that.”
The violent clashes, which went on for three days in several cities of Pakistan, took the lives of three people and wounded more than 100 police officers. During the press conference, the minister paid tribute to police officers and law enforcement personnel who were injured in the clashes. “I will visit the homes of those who were martyred and will also visit those who were injured [in the clashes],” he had said.
Rasheed had 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 the religious party’s demands in Parliament.
Why was TLP protesting?
The TLP was protesting blasphemous caricatures published in France and demanding that the French ambassador be sent home and import of goods from that country banned. The government reached an agreement with the TLP on Nov 16 to involve the parliament to decide the matter in three months.
As the Feb 16 deadline neared, the government expressed its inability to implement the agreement and sought more time. The TLP agreed to delay its protest by two-and-a-half months to April 20.
On Sunday, Mr Rizvi, in a video message, asked the TLP workers to be ready to lunch the long march if the government failed to meet the deadline. It prompted the government to arrest the TLP chief.
Notably, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said it was the responsibility of the state to ensure the protection of the public against riots and also establish the writ of the state. Therefore, he added, the government had decided to ban Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan in the larger interest of the public and state.
Read more: “Strict Action”: Polls show a majority of people against TLP Actions
While condemning the violence, vandalism and ransacking of public and private properties and attacks on policemen, the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) criticised the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government for what it said abdicating its responsibility.