LAHORE: Converting most of his speech into prayers and cursing those who opposed “deen” (faith) in the recent elections – meaning thereby the opponents of Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan – the party chief, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, on Monday vowed to fight “for mandate of his party, which was stolen in the polls.”

Addressing a protest rally on The Mall, cut short by rain in the afternoon, Mr Rizvi, using his choicest Punjabi expletives, said that those who thought the TLP could be scared into submission were wrong in their calculations. “We are here (to stay) and would continue to fight till the end.”

Explaining the TLP strategy, which gave clues to things to come, he said the party knew that its mandate had been stolen and would act on two prongs to get its due right back; contest by-elections and continue to protest on the roads.

“It (TLP) would not leave the field open for anyone. It would take part in by-elections and would do so better prepared,” he announced. He asked the party workers to go and prepare for the by-elections.

On the second prong, the TLP was convinced that the result transmission system (RTS) never crashed but was “made to crash” for stealing its mandate.

“The TLP would continue protesting till the end. It would take out a rally on August 12 in Karachi and would return to the Lahore roads on August 14. Next protest plan would be announced after Karachi event and it will surely come,” Mr Rizvi said.

He demanded that the Election Commission should upload all Form 45 and 46 on its website so that people knew what had exactly happened in their constituencies. “It is also time for the election commissioner to either quit himself or be thrown out because he has failed to conduct free and fair elections.”

The rally, which kept the main city artery closed for well around four hours and played havoc with the traffic around The Mall, had a substantial and charged attendance. The estimates differed widely as the city police put the figures at less than 2,000 and the TLP claiming 50,000.

The rain cut the rally short and Khadim Hussain Rizivi had to jump many who were scheduled to deliver speeches before him, to speak out of turn because drizzle had turned into downpour by then.

Though rain forced some of the participants to take refuge in verandas of the nearby buildings, the main crowd – on the Charing Cross – remained steady despite rain and rather became more charged as Mr Rizvi took the podium.

“Many people came to purchase us before elections, but were told that we are not for sale. They told us that they have commitments to fulfill. I told them I also have made commitments – with the Holy Prophet (PBUH) to fight for his deen. So, they went ahead with their commitments and we are moving forwards with our own,” Mr Rizvi told a charged crowd.

Earlier in the day, over 2,000 policemen who were deployed for the event, had started closing The Mall by 3pm as rally started from Data Darbar (shrine of saint Ali Hajveri).

The elaborate security arrangements included deployment of special branch and anti-riots force (ARF) personnel.

Published in Dawn, August 07th, 2018

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