TLP chief Rizvi threatens nationwide protests if govt fails to implement Faizabad agreement

Published April 3, 2018
TLYRA protesters respond to slogans at sit-in near Data Darbar.  — Photo by author
TLYRA protesters respond to slogans at sit-in near Data Darbar. — Photo by author

Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi on Tuesday threatened to hold nationwide protests if the government fails to carry out the terms agreed in the controversial army-brokered Faizabad agreement.

The contentious Faizabad agreement had led to the resignation of the then law minister Zahid Hamid in return for the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA) promising they would issue no fatwa against him.

Rizvi, who was declared a proclaimed offender later in the day, has been leading a TLYRA sit-in outside Data Darbar in Lahore since Monday.

The leaders at the protest announced that if the conditions stated in the apparently one-sided Faizabad agreement — which had become a cause of much controversy for carrying signatures of an army general as a mediator — are not met, they will announce their future course of action via a press conference at 4pm on Wednesday.

Also read: Terms of agreement with Faizabad protesters 'cannot be legally justified', says IHC

Khadim Rizvi, others declared proclaimed offenders

TLYRA leaders, including Khadim Hussain Rizvi, were declared proclaimed offenders by an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad. Others declared proclaimed offenders by the court in cases filed during and after last year's Faizabad sit-in, include Pir Afzal Qadri, Maulana Inayatullah and Sheikh Azhar.

Aabpara police informed the court that summons were posted outside Rizvi's residence and the notice board of the relevant police station. It requested the court to take the cases forward in absence of the accused.

Meanwhile, the military's spokesperson said later in the day that if the court has issued orders for Rizvi's arrest he should be put behind bars.

Know more: What forced govt to sign agreement with Faizabad protesters, asks Rabbani

The protests in the capital at Faizabad had begun last year after a change to the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat oath via the Elections Act 2017 came to the fore. Despite the government terming it a clerical mistake and immediately moving to bring the document back to its original form, the opposition and TLYRA demanded action against those involved.

Violent protests then spread across the country after the federal government used force against those camping at Faizabad. The protests were eventually called off when the government accepted most of their major demands under an army-brokered agreement.

Among other demands of the protesters were for the Raja Zafarul Haq report — containing details of the investigation into the clerical error — be made public, the release of all arrested protesters, formation of committee to suggest action against those who used force against protesters and full implementation of an earlier agreement between Punjab government and TLYRA.

Following the signing of the agreement, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had questioned its legal standing, saying that "none of the terms could be legally justified".


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