Over 200 TLP activists booked under sedition, other charges in Rawalpindi

Updated 27 Nov 2018


16 activists arrested in Attock under Anti-Terrorism Act were produced before an ATC; police given seven-day remand. — Dawn/File
16 activists arrested in Attock under Anti-Terrorism Act were produced before an ATC; police given seven-day remand. — Dawn/File

RAWALPINDI/ISLAMABAD: As many as 207 workers and activists of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), including its three local leaders, have been booked on the charges of sedition, blocking roads and damaging public property.

Around 300 workers and activists of the religious group, who were arrested during a major crackdown before its Nov 25 planned protest at Faizabad, were on Monday sent to Mianwali and Bhakkar prisons. Besides, 190 individuals, including 97 arrested by the Islamabad police, were being kept in the Adiala jail.

Of the 207 workers and activists, 102 have been identified and nominated in three FIRs registered with the Waris Khan, City and Rawat police on charges ranging from sedition to creating law and order, damaging public property, blocking roads and violating Section 144.

On the other hand, 16 activists arrested in Attock under the Anti-Terrorism Act were produced before an ATC court here which handed them over to the police on a seven-day remand.

Around 300 arrested people shifted to Mianwali and Bhakkar prisons while 190 others, including 97 rounded up by Islamabad police, are kept in Adiala jail

Following intelligence that TLP leaders Inayatul Haq Shah, Farooqul Hassan and others were trying to lead a protest and delivering speeches and messages to their workers and activists through the social media against the government from a house in Bahria Town Phase VIII, the Rawat police conducted a raid there.

The police said the religious group’s local leaders were calling their workers to reach Liaquat Bagh and other areas to block roads. They were accused of inciting people against the state and its institutions by using the social media and mobile phones and calling their workers to gather at Liaquat Bagh for blocking roads.

When the police arrived at the Bahria Town house on Sunday evening, a watchman informed them that Inayatul Haq Shah, emir of TLP Rawalpindi; Mohammad Farooq Al-Hassan, finance secretary; Tahir Mehmood, organiser; along with Mohammad Usman, Mirza Amir Jabbar, Syed Fareedul Haq Shah and Riaz Hussain had been staying there for two to three days. They left the house two hours before the arrival of the police.

The police booked the seven TLP leaders and workers under Section 124-A of the PPC and Section 29 of the Telegraph Act on the complaint of Tariq Mehmood, the station house officer (SHO) of Rawat.

Section 124-A of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), which is related to sedition, states: “Whoever brings into hatred or contempt the federal and provincial government shall be punished with up to imprisonment for life to which fine may be added.”

The Islamabad police rounded up 221 local leaders and activists of the TLP under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance during its crackdown launched on Friday.

Over 100 of the detained people approached the district magistrate and sought their release on bail, pleading they had no links with the TLP and its protest.

In response, a verification of the applicants was sought from the police and on the light of it 37 people were released.

An officer told Dawn that only those people were released who had been arrested wrongly.

“The arrests have been made on the directions of the government. Though the date of the protest has passed, a decision about the release of the arrested people would be taken by the government.”

He said vigilance was still mounted around seminaries to prevent its administrations and students from taking part in any protest.

He said officials of the police and administration held talks with the administrations of the seminaries and a majority of them said they had nothing to do with the TLP and its protest. But seven seminaries were reluctant to give such assurances. Police were then deployed around the seven seminaries to monitor the movement of its students.

Meanwhile, 50 activists of the TLP were taken into custody in Taxila and Wah on Sunday night.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2018