LAHORE: Former patron-in-chief and founding leader of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), Pir Afzal Qadri, on Wednesday stirred a controversy around the group’s leadership when he questioned the succession of “mentally unstable” Saad Hussain Rizvi to lead the party after the death of Khadim Hussain Rizvi.
In a video clip where Afzal Qadri could be seen addressing from a platform, he also questioned the religious credentials of Saad, alleging that he was not even ahafiz(one who knows the holy Quran by heart) as is commonly believed and called by his followers.
Claiming to be the mastermind behind the group and the one who did “the most” for the party, which the late Khadim Rizvi was “credited for”, Qadri said it was “mutually agreed upon between him and the late party chief that nepotism would not be allowed within the party, and the leadership not passed down to relatives of founders”.
“I was the one who ran campaigns for Mumtaz Qadri and against Asia Bibi. I have been nominated in 106 cases due to this movement. After the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri, everyone thought it was the end of the movement, but I was the one who renamed it and carried on.”
He claimed that Khadim Rizvi knew his son was incompetent and used to request him to pray for Saad, who he alleged was mentally unstable, an addict and had not even completed his education.
Responding to Afzal Qadri’s tirade, TLP spokesman Zubair Ahmad said he had resigned from the party in May last year after he was held in a crackdown on the TLP.
Saad Rizvi was elected by the party’s consultative body (shoora) just before the funeral of the late chief.
The shoora is the only body empowered to elect the party chief and Saad was now the legitimate leader. Such attempts to create controversy could only be regretted, Ahmad concluded.
Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2020