Despite removal of TLP’s proscribed status, release of its chief not in sight

Published November 9, 2021
TLP chief Saad Hussain Rizvi. — Photo courtesy: Facebook
TLP chief Saad Hussain Rizvi. — Photo courtesy: Facebook

LAHORE: Even after removal of the name of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) from the First Schedule as a proscribed organisation, release of its chief Saad Rizvi is not immediately in sight as the Federal Review Board (FRB) is yet to give a date to hear Punjab government’s case regarding his detention.

Since the TLP chief’s detention matter before the Lahore High Court has already been rendered infructuous after the expiry of detention period, the FRB was supposed to hear Mr Rizvi’s detention matter on Nov 6, but it could not happen. The new date is yet to be given.

Meanwhile, sources say, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s government has decided not to pursue its plan to impose a ban on Ansar-ul-Islam, a wing of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam – Falzur Rehman (JUI-F).

Sources claim the Punjab home department had moved a reference to the provincial government’s cabinet wing, seeking a ban on Ansar-ul-Islam about a year ago apparently to pressurise JUI-F chief Maulana Fazl, when his party had launched a march on Islamabad.

Some other banned outfits also demand a similar relief

It is learnt that the reference remained pending with the cabinet wing and the status quo is still being maintained.

“No decision has been taken with regard to the Ansar-ul-Islam because it’s reference was never reflected on Punjab cabinet’s agenda,” a source, who attended the Punjab law and order committee meeting chaired by Punjab law minister Basharat Raja here on Monday, told Dawn.

“Any issue concerning Ansar-ul-Islam has not been discussed in the committee meeting,” the source said and added that the Punjab government might have reached some “patch-up” with the Maulana in this regard.

A source in the meeting said the government seemed to have agreed that after a precedent was set with the removal of the TLP’s proscribed status, other banned organisations might also apply for the same relief.

When contacted, Punjab law minister Basharat Raja said the law and order committee neither discussed any matter related to Ansarul Islam, nor any other banned organisation’s request had been presented before it. He, however, agreed that as a precedent had been set, other banned organisations might also use it to seek relief.

Currently, 78 organisations have been declared proscribed by the interior ministry, including the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat (ASWJ), Sipah-i-Muhammad Pakistan, Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan, Jamatul Dawa, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Tehreek-i-Jafria, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, Hizbul Tahreer and various factions of Baloch separatist organizations.

Meanwhile, the ASWJ central president Allama Aurangzeb Farooqui has demanded removal of ban on Sipah-e-Sihaba. He has threatened to protest against the government, if the ban was not removed.

Similarly, Shia Ulema Council’s North Punjab president Allama Syed Sibtain Haider Rizvi has also demanded the government should notify the revival of Tehreek-i-Jafria and “stop discriminating” against the organisation.

“The removal of ban on TLP explains that the government only recognised violent resistance,” he remarked and demanded issuance of a notification for restoration of Tehreek-i-Jafria Pakistan in the light of Supreme Court’s November 2016 decision.

A source in the Punjab home department confirmed that no application for relief had so far been submitted by any proscribed organisation.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2021

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