An anti-terrorism court has formally charged the firebrand leader of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), Khadim Hussain Rizvi, and others in a case concerning the violent protests initiated by TLP following a Supreme Court verdict acquitting Aasia Bibi last year. The decision of the court was long expected.
Violent protests: ATC indicts Khadim Hussain Rizvi https://t.co/b4SbRb0DCe
— Usman Manzoor (@usmanmanzoor) November 12, 2019
According to details, ATC-I Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta announced the charges brought against the religio-political leaders. Strict security arrangements had been made for the proceedings. A total of 26 suspects — including Rizvi and TLP patron-in-chief Pir Afzal Qadri — were issued copies of the challan. Some of the suspects appeared in court today along with counsels Tahir Minhas and Nasir Minhas.
Civil Lines police registered the FIR under Sections 290, 291, 353, 427, 186 and 188 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), Section 6 of the Sound System Punjab Ordinance 2015 and Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 after the TLP leaders led violent protests against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi in a concocted blasphemy case. The apex court made it clear that there was no sufficient evidence to convict Aasia bibi who has now left the country.
TLP leaders criticized state institutions, demanded the resignation of PM and CJP and issued fatwas against the judiciary and military
It is important to note that Mr. Rizvi was recently granted bail by the Lahore High Court (LHC) in a case which the Punjab government has challenged in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Punjab government has argued that the high court “did not fulfill legal requirements” in its decision to grant bail, which was made in May this year. The petition stated that there was enough evidence against the TLP chief and urged the top court to nullify the high court’s verdict.
TLP’s Protest and Detention
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 life to a standstill. They destroyed the public and state properties by setting them ablaze. TLP leaders criticized state institutions, demanded the resignation of PM and CJP and issued fatwas against the judiciary and military.
Afzal Qadri, while addressing 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. He, then announced his retirement from the party and issued an apology for incendiary remarks made by him during a protest.
Pir Afzal Qadri quits TLP, apologizes for his anti-state remarks – Global Village Space https://t.co/6OIoZJhMoU
— Dr. Shahjahan Khan (@DoctorShahjahan) May 2, 2019
The protestors blocked the roads, chanted slogans against state institutions and damaged everything they got their hands on. The protest ended with an agreement between the government and TLP.
Later on, Khadim Hussain Rizvi along with other party leaders and supporter was detained on Nov 23, as he refused to call off the plan to stage a rally in Rawalpindi.
Rizvi is “Reportedly Corrupt”: Reports ISI
The ISI submitted a comprehensive report to the SC and declared Khadim Rizvi as “reportedly corrupt”. Rizvi has been also listed as being “arrogant” with his superiors, “harsh” with his subordinates, and “committed” to his cause. It has also been stated that Rizvi is “reportedly corrupt” particularly when it comes to financial matters.
The report further notes how he has shown an inclination towards misuse of power, the authorities, and resources. It is yet to be seen how the court and the present government deals with him. The apex court shall determine whether the decision to grant bail to Rizvi was legally correct or not.