Government bans TLP under anti-terrorism law


Reference to be filed in SC for party’s dissolution

Religious party had ‘dangerous intentions’ for Pakistan

Ijaz Kakakhel

The federal government on Thursday formally banned the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), whose supporters staged three days of violent protests across the country this week after the arrest of their leader.

A notification declaring TLP as a proscribed organisation was issued by the Ministry of Interior shortly after the federal cabinet approved a summary to ban the party.

The notification said the federal government “has reasonable grounds to believe that Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan is engaged in terrorism, acted in a manner prejudicial to the peace and security of the country, involved in creating anarchy in the country by intimidating the public, caused grievous bodily harm, hurt and death to the personnel of Law Enforcement Agencies and innocent by-standers, attacked civilians and officials, created wide-scale hurdles, threatened, abused and promoted hatred, vandalised and ransacked public and government properties including vehicles and caused arson, blocked essential health supplies to hospitals, and has used, threatened, coerced, intimidated, and overawed the government [and] the public and created sense of fear and insecurity in the society and the public at large”.

“Therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 11B(1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, the Federal Government is pleased to list Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan in the First Schedule to the said Act as a proscribed organisation for the purposes of the said Act,” it added.

Terming the designs of TLP are “dangerous”, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Thursday said that the notification to ban the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan will be issued today and another summary for the dissolution of the party would be submitted to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Addressing a press conference along with Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri, Sheikh Rasheed said that a separate summary would be sent to the cabinet for dissolution of the TLP through a reference in the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Friday (today).

“The summaries were kept separate on the advice of the law minister and attorney general,” said the interior minister, who further announced that no one involved in the violent acts across the country would be spared.

The minister said the violence was unfortunate as the government was willing to negotiate with protesters.

He said the government had not backed away from its promise to present a resolution of the religious party’s demands in Parliament.

“We got to know during the negotiations that they religious party was planning a march on April 20,” he said, adding that the reaction from the party after the arrest of a leader could not be justified.

“The reaction was neither in harmony with what our religion says nor what our Constitution says,” he said.

“The religious party and its supporters / workers were adamant on coming to the Faizabad Interchange for the fourth time,” he said.

The minister paid tribute to police officers and law enforcement personnel who got injured in the clashes.

“I will visit the homes of those who were martyred and will also visit those who were injured in the clashes,” he said.

The minister said besides the two martyred police constables a total of 580 other personnel received injuries in the clashes and 20 vehicles were either burnt or damaged by the mob.

He said no leniency would be tolerated and all those involved in creating the law and order situation would be dealt with severely.

Earlier, federal cabinet approved a summary from Interior Ministry seeking a ban on the TLP under the anti-terrorism law. Prime Minister Imran Khan has already given approval to the summary regarding ban of TLP.

Previously, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed announced the government decision to ban Tehreek-e-Labbaik on request of Punjab government.

The party’s workers also tried to take a number of policemen hostage to force the govt to accept their demands.

Speaking alongside Rashid, Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri said he had been engaging with the TLP for the past two years and it was the government’s effort to bring it into the system as a “mainstream political party”.

He said the government had never backtracked from its commitment to present a resolution in the National Assembly, adding that it was proposing a draft whose diplomatic repercussions would be minimum and which would not push the country into an international crisis.

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