Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan chief Saad Hussain Rizvi was on Thursday released from the jail, weeks after Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government entered into a ‘secret agreement’ with the radical Islamist party which was involved in recent deadly clashes with the police.
IMAGE: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Photograph: ANI Photo
Rizvi, who was languishing at Kot Lakhpat jail since his arrest on April 12 under terrorism charges, is facing over 100 FIRs under terrorism and murder, attempted murder and other cases.
“The Punjab government withdrew its reference before the federal review board leading to the release of Rizvi,” a senior official of the Punjab government told PTI.
In fact, the Punjab province government faciliated his release, he added.
Thousands of TLP workers and supporters welcomed Rizvi at the party headquarters at Yateem Khana Chowk Lahore where he was brought in a procession.
Last week, the Punjab government removed the name of Rizvi from the terrorism list, succumbing to pressure from the radical Islamist party.
Under the last month’s ‘secret agreement,’ the federal government had lifted the ban on the TLP, citing ‘in the larger national interest.’
Early this month, thousands of TLP members ended their over week-long sit-in in Punjab province after the Imran Khan-led government accepted some ‘demands’ of the radical outfit.
The government had also released over 1,200 TLP workers arrested during the clashes with the police in Lahore last month and on way to Wazirabad, in which 11 Islamists and eight policemen lost their lives.
The TLP had launched protests on October 18 from Lahore and announced to march to Islamabad to force the government to accept its demands.
Interestingly, just before reaching the ‘secret agreement’ with the radical Islamists, Prime Minister Khan had categorically announced that his government would not meet the TLP’s demand of closing down the French embassy in Pakistan.
The federal cabinet had also announced treating TLP as a militant organisation.
“The TLP will be crushed as other such groups have been eliminated. The Pakistani state has defeated major terrorist organisations such as Al Qaeda,” information minister Fawad Chaudhry had said.
The Opposition — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan People’s Party — have termed the agreement with the TLP a ‘meek surrender’ by the state.
The TLP shot to fame in 2017 when it held a massive protest for three weeks in the busy Faizabad interchange near Islamabad.
The party lifted the lockdown of the city after the then government sacked the law minister.