November 3rd, 2021

By Ahmed Saeed 


Civil society and political parties, both, have expressed their reservations about the secret agreement between the banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP), saying that bringing the banned party into the national mainstream without accountability would have negative impacts on society at large.

It should be noted that at least six policemen were martyred while dozens of others were injured during the recent clashes between activists of the organization and police personnel.

Civil society actors have pointed out that the government striking an agreement with the TLP is tantamount to giving an NRO to the ‘proscribed’ organization. Leading industrialist Aqeel Karam Dhedi, who also facilitated the talks between the proscribed organization and the government, believes that both policemen and protesters lost their lives during the disturbances and the entire country cannot be held hostage due to the deaths of a dozen or so people.

Meanwhile, commenting on the government’s possible decision to lift the ban on TLP, Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Hina Jilani, stated that such policy choices promote religious extremism in the society.

She said that when it comes to right wing organizations, the government was always ready to make deals, but when it comes to movements like the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) which were operating under the ambit of the law, were readily victimized only because they were critical of the state’s narrative.

The TLP was declared a proscribed organization by the federal government in April after violent rioting by activists of the organization resulted in the deaths of at least 3 police officials. In addition to the deaths some twenty-six police personnel were injured during the rioting.

Former IG Police Afzal Shigri believes that despite the sacrifices made by the policemen deployed on the frontlines repeated ‘agreements’ with the organization will definitely hurt the morale of the police force.

Advocate Salahuddin, President of the Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHBA), told that unbanning the organization without fulfilling legal formalities depicts weakness on part of the state. In his legal opinion, all citizens of Pakistan who suffered from financial or physical harm as a result of the rioting can challenge the government’s decision in the court of law.

Despite murmurings of an agreement between the government and the proscribed organization, the TLP dharna at Waziriabad is currently ongoing. Leaders of the outfit have declared that the sit-in will not b e called off until the release of their premier Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi, who is expected to address the sit-in right after his release. However, the issue of Saad Rizvi’s immediate release seems to be in legal jeopardy.

Today, the Lahore High Court (LHC) raised objections to the admissibility of the petition filed against the detention of Saad Rizvi.

According to the court the notification challenged by Rizvi’s counsel is an older one while the leader is under detention based on a new notification and consequently his release can only be secured by challenging the latter and not the former. The court also remarked that the alleged rapprochement between the government and the organization will not in any way impact the workings of the court, which will decide the matter based on legal merits.

The lawyer was of the view that the court raised valid objections and that he would withdraw his application if he could not satisfy the court by tomorrow.


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