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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Pir Afzal Qadri quits TLP, apologizes for his anti-state remarks

Qadri urged party workers to "behave well, remain peaceful, and refrain from engaging in any activity against the integrity of the state."

News Analysis |

Pir Afzal Qadri, patron-in-chief Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), who is currently on judicial remand pending multiple cases against him has announced his retirement from the party and issued an apology for incendiary remarks made by him during a protest against the Supreme Court’s acquittal of Asia Bibi. Mr. Qadri was booked under sedition and terrorism charges in Gujrat and taken into “protective custody” by the state during a crackdown in November after the TLP announced it would observe martyrs’ day on Nov 25, 2018.

Currently, the Lahore High Court is hearing a bail plea filed by Qadri and TLP chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi since their earlier applications were rejected by an anti-terrorism court. In the last hearing of the case, the court had asked police to submit a record of proof that led to the arrests of Rizvi and Qadri.

In a video message, Mr. Qadri pleaded that “I am a patient of heart disease, paralysis, kidney disease, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure etc. and when the verdict of the Asia Masih case was pronounced, my religious sentiments got hurt and I delivered a speech. I am very sorry for hurting the sentiments of the government, the judiciary, and the chief of army staff.”

He also directed party leaders and workers to propagate their viewpoints in a manner consistent with the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah, and also in line with the law and the Constitution of Pakistan.

Read more: TLP’s existence under threat: Sedition case against Khadim Rizvi & Afzal Qadri

It was shocking for many people on social media that a self-styled ‘custodian of religion’ has decided to quit the party.

However, it was expected that the state of Pakistan would retain its authority and demonstrate its claim over curbing the violence through practical actions. Former Federal Minister for Information, Fawad Chaudhry had stated on many occasions that those who would challenge the state shall not be forgiven.

Curbing the Extremist Ideology

Recently, Muttahida Ulema Board Punjab has recommended a ban on books authored by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and Ahmadi leaders. Muttahida Ulema Board Punjab Chairman Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi informed the media that the central board meeting of Muttahida Ulema Board Punjab had decided to ban a book of Pir Afzal Qadri ‘Monthly Awaz-e-Ahl-e-Sunnah’, ‘Kashti-e-Nuh’ of Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadyani. The meeting further recommended filing case against the publisher of this book under section 295/C.

Moreover, the incumbent government has announced to implement the National Action Plan (NAP) in letter and spirit. The government has banned some organizations and arrested several leaders and members of various organizations. Besides, several mosques and religious seminaries have been taken into the control of the state to regulate them.

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

Prime Minister Imran Khan also said during a meeting of the federal cabinet that his government was taking action against the banned organization in the best national interest. PM Khan made it clear that anybody who challenges the writ of the state shall not be spared.