Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) was banned by the Imran Khan Niazi government under the Anti-Terrorism Act in April this year. Pakistan PM Imran Khan Niazi lifted the ban on Sunday (November 7) night under pressure.
Bowing to pressure from the terrorist organisation, Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi Sunday (November 7) night lifted the ban on terrorist organisation Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).
“In exercise of the powers conferred under sub-section (I) of Section 11U of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 (as amended), the federal government is pleased to remove the name of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan from the First Schedule of the said Act as proscribed organisation for the purpose of the said Act,” read the notification issued by the Imran Khan Niazi government.
The Pakistan government had banned Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) under the Anti-Terrorism Act on April 15 this year. The Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), the political wing of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah Pakistan, was formed in 2016 by Khadim Hussain Rizvi.
Among other things, its main stated objective is to end blasphemy from Pakistan and around the world. In April this year, Prime Minister Niazi had said that his government and the banned TLP had the same goal of ending blasphemy from the world.
Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the founder of TLP, passed away on November 19 last year. His son, Saad Rizvi, took leadership of the organisation. Since November last year, the TLP has been protesting violently in Pakistan. It has been protesting the decision of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to republish cartoons featuring Prophet Muhammad. Two terrorists had stormed into Charlie Hebdo’s office on January 7, 2015, killing 12 people. The attack was to ‘avenge’ the publication of the same cartoons featuring Prophet Muhammed.
In August last year, Charlie Hebdo republished all those cartoons again. French President Emmanuel Macron publicly backed Charlie Hebdo’s decision to republish those cartoons. The TLP demanded that the French ambassador be sent back, and ties with France be downgraded. On November 16 2020, the Imran Khan Niazi government reached an agreement with the TLP to decide on the expulsion of the French ambassador by February 16, 2021.
When the deadline of February 16 neared, the Niazi government negotiated a new deadline of April 20. Before the expiry of this new deadline, Saad Rizvi asked his followers to be ready for a massive blockade of Islamabad. The Niazi government arrested him on April 12. After Rizvi’s arrest on April 12, his followers went on a rampage all over the country. Massive riots, sit-ins and blockades were organised all over the country.
The TLP put forth a charter of demands that included the expulsion of the French ambassador; the release of Saad Rizvi; removal of the ban on TLP; and Rizvi’s followers.
On October 18, the TLP launched massive protests from Lahore and announced a march to Islamabad to force the government to expel the French ambassador and release Saad Rizvi. In the latest confrontation between the security forces and Rizvi’s followers, over 20 people lost their lives, and thousands were injured.
On October 31, the Niazi government reached a secret deal with the TLP, which included reportedly lifting the ban on TLP. Thousands of Rizvi’s followers were also released from jails. The status of two other demands, the expulsion of the French ambassador and the release of Saad Rizvi, is still unclear.