White Star
White Star

LAHORE: Following an agreement with the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) at the end of last month, its chief Saad Hussain Rizvi was released on the eve of the first death anniversary of his father Khadim Hussain Rizvi which falls on Friday (today).

After his release from the Kot Lakhpat jail, Saad Rizvi arrived at his party headquarters and ancestral Rehmatul Lil Alameen mosque amid jubilant celebration by the TLP workers. The mosque will host Urs of the senior Rizvi on Nov 19-21.

Saad Rizvi’s release came after the TLP and federal government reached an agreement on Oct 31 last after many rounds of talks and two weeks of clashes which left seven policemen and scores of TLP workers dead. The agreement was kept secret, and it still is, but leaked information suggested consensus on removing the party from the list of the proscribed organisations, release of its chief Saad Hussain Rizvi, and setting its workers held under various charges including anti-terrorism free.

A week later, on Nov 7, the federal cabinet decided to revoke the declaration putting the TLP in the list of “proscribed” organisations under the country’s anti-terrorism law. Three days later, Rizvi’s name was removed from the Fourth Schedule on Nov 10 after the Punjab government issued a notification which stated: “Name of Hafiz Mohammad Saad, Ameer of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan, a proscribed organisation, was listed in the Fourth Schedule of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, under Section 11-E on the recommendations of District Intelligence Committee (Lahore)... It is noted that the government had removed the TLP from the First Schedule of the Act as a proscribed organisation on November 7. Therefore, name of Hafiz Mohammad Saad is hereby deleted from the list of 4th Schedule of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, with immediate effect.”

Punjab govt facilitates three-day Urs of Khadim Rizvi

On Wednesday, a meeting chaired by Punjab Law Minister Basharat Raja could not reach a consensus on Rizvi’s release. It linked the release with the decision of the federal review board that was approached by the provincial government for withdrawal of its application regarding the detention of the TLP chief.

DEATH ANNIVERSARY: The Punjab government on Thursday promised to facilitate the Urs preparations and security for those attending it.

According to a statement by Lahore Deputy Commissioner Umar Sher Chatha, officials visited the mosque to review the arrangements for the event. The government would also set up a control room for monitoring the Urs and install 200 CCTV cameras.

Rescue 1122 personnel would also be deployed in the control room, from where all entry and exit points of the area would be strictly monitored.

Preparations were under way to set up a medical camp to deal with any untoward incident, the statement said, adding that hospitals nearby would be put on alert.

Security forces and civil defence personnel would be deployed in the area which a bomb disposal squad would sweep. Those attending the Urs would be provided space for parking their vehicles in Sabzazar ground, Chauburji ground, Huma Block Park and the parking area for the State Bank of Pakistan.

The statement said the Lahore Waste Management Company staff would be assigned duties to clean the area before the event.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2021

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