KARACHI: The Sindh government has detained 156 leaders and workers of the Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance, 1960 for 30 days as police apprehended that they were in a ‘habit’ of creating law and order situation, officials said on Sunday.

Most of TLP activists were taken into custody on the night of Nov 23 for staging protest sit-ins in Karachi and other parts of Sindh following the arrest of their supremo, Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi, in Lahore.

The government issued their detention orders on a request of police authorities.

Around 44 others have been arrested on terrorism charge

Officials said that Inspector General of Police Dr Syed Kaleem Imam wrote a letter to Sindh Home Secretary Abdul Kabir Kazi on Saturday asking him to issue detention orders under Section-3 of the MPO.

Two DIGs of Karachi’s West and East zones and four DIGs of Hyderabad, Sukkur, Shaheed Benazirabad and Mirpurkhas have submitted their reports to the IGP suggesting the detention of TLP workers under the relevant law to avoid any mishap and untoward incident.

A senior police official on Sunday told Dawn that the home secretary had issued orders for detention of the TLP leaders and activists — 156 in number.

Most of them had been apprehended in Karachi. All of them have been detained under the MPO for one month.

The orders issued by the home secretary said: “The members of Tahreek Labbaik Pakistan are in the habit to harass the general public, instigating mobs against honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan in the judgement of Aasia Bibi case and challenging the writ of the state by blocking the public thoroughfares, damaging the public property and creating panic among the masses.

“They will create law and order situation and cause harassment amongst the general public, which will become potential danger to public peace.”

According to official orders, on the basis of the request of the IGP and material placed before him, the home secretary was “convinced” that the TLP workers’ “presence at any public place will pose a grave threat to the public safety and likely to cause breach of public peace and public order”.

Therefore, the provincial government had issued orders under the MPO to detain the held workers of the religious party for 30 days from the date of their arrest under Section 3 (1) of the West Pakistan Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance 1960.

Their custody shall be placed under the superintendent of the Karachi central prison. They shall be at liberty to make a representation to the provincial government against this order.

The senior official said that besides the 156 leaders and workers, 44 others were arrested under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 as they had allegedly resorted to violence near the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah on Friday night.

Three of the 44 held TLP members are the provincial office-bearers of the party.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2018