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Saturday, February 4, 2023

Its all over for Khadim Rizvi: Will he be tried under Art 6?

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News Analysis |

Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief, Khadim Hussain Rizvi was arrested by the police from his Hujra (residence) in Lahore on Friday night. Information Minister, Fawad Chaudhary said that the chief was taken in ‘protective custody’ by police as Rizvi refused to withdraw call for protest on November 25.

The Minister in his tweet said, “Khadim Hussain Rizvi has been taken into protective custody by police and shifted to a guest house. They insisted to come to Rwp refusing Governments proposal for alternative arrangements It’s to safeguard public life, property and order and has to do nothing with Asia Bibi case.”

“Govt [government] did it[s] best to convince them but they refused every offer and started to provoke violence. Public is requested to stay peaceful n calm State is responsible to defend finality and respect of Holy Prophet PBUH. Law shall take its course and it cannot be left to individuals,” he further said.

In another tweet in Urdu, the minister said that the TLP had been a continuous threat to the lives and properties of public and in disguise of religion, it had been doing politics. Minister urged the public to stay calm and the situation was under control.

Read more: Asia Bibi case: Opportunist Khadim Rizvi threatens judiciary, NGOs and the…

Arrests Across the country

The Son of Rizvi, Saad, while talking to local media, confirmed that his father was arrested; also district leaders of TLP were being arrested too. Media reports suggest a crackdown has been initiated against the party’s activists and leaders in all major cities of the country. TLP leader Pir Afzal Qadri in a video message claimed that police was raiding their mosques in order to arrest leaders. He has been arrested too.

There is no way the government will let go of people challenging the writ of the state, threatening the security situation, and maligning the institutes of Pakistan.

At least 30 of the party’s workers have been arrested from various parts of the capital. Security has been beefed up across the country to thwart any unfortunate incident from happening. Heavy contingents of police and paramilitary forces have been deployed to protect all sensitive installations in all major cities.

Main arrested leaders include Dr. Asif Ali Bilali (TLp central Leader), Syed Zafar Iqbal shah Binori (TLP KP Ameer), Maulana Nisar Ahmed Jalali, Ali Hassan, Qari Waqar and Rizwan Farooqui (TLP organisers). The district authorities in Rawalpindi have issued detainment orders for TLP divisional leader Inayatul Haq. According to the notification, Haq will be detained in a jail for 15 days.

Read more: Who is Khadim Hussain Rizvi?

TLP’s Vandalism in 2018

TLP had staged a violent protest the country after the announcement of Asia Bibi’s acquittal. Asia, accused of blasphemy, was directed to be released by Supreme Court of Pakistan on October 31, 2018. Protestors paralyzed the main cities and roads of the country, bringing the life to a standstill. They destroyed the public and state properties by setting them ablaze.

TLP leaders criticized state institutions, demanding the resignation of PM and CJP, issuing fatwas against judiciary and military. Afzal Qadri while addressing to the protestors said that there should be a rebellion within the army against COAS and all generals of Qadiyani belief. He provoked the followers against the judiciary too.

Media reports suggest a crackdown has been initiated against the party’s activists and leaders in all major cities of the country.

The protestors blocked the roads, chanted slogans against state institutions and damaged everything they got their hands on. Ultimately, the agreement between the government and TLP finally made the protestors end their vandalism and go home.

TLP’s Faizabad Dharna [sit-in] in 2017

In November 2017, TLP had staged a sit-in at Faizabad interchange virtually paralyzing the federal capital. The protestors called for the sacking of then Law Minister Zahid Hamid and strict action against people behind the amendment to Khatm-e-Nabuwwat oath in Elections Act 2017 as it changed the word oath to declaration.

After weeks-long-protest and clashes between security forces and protestors that claimed many lives, Zahim Hamid had to resign to make the fiasco end.

Expected Reaction

In a video message before his arrest, Khadim Rizvi said that in case of his arrest by forces, there would be one more ‘25-November’. He was referring to Nov 2017 protest that had seen some untoward events during the protest.

Read more: Pakistan fights back: TLP’s Khadim Rizvi detained in crackdown

What Will Happen Now?

Analysts believe that after the arrest of all main leadership of TLP, there are hardly any chances of protests by the TLP followers.  It is believed that had the state wanted to end the earlier protest of TLP after the acquittal of Asia Bibi, it could easily end it by use of force against violent protestors. But it was wise not to use force as any bloodshed would have given the anti-state actors an edge to further their propaganda; the same anti-state actors that had joined the protest just to spread anarchy in the country.

Time has changed with the change in government in Pakistan. Undermining the authority of the state is merely a delusion now that propagandists need to understand. There is no way the government will let go of people challenging the writ of the state, threatening the security situation, and maligning the institutes of Pakistan.

The PTI-led government is determined to get the country out of economic crisis and on the right direction. For that, CPEC is the most important project and linked with that is the requisite of stability in political and security situation. Anarchists from within and from without will attempt to sabotage the government’s reform projects and policies but this time around the PTI-government is vigilant and working for national prosperity and not personal interests that it would let such non-state actors disrupt the peace in the country.