LAHORE: The Tehreek E Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah Pakistan (TLY) on Tuesday staged protest outside the Punjab Assembly at Faisal Chowk, alleging that the government was preparing to change the blasphemy law through Election Act 2017.
This was the first protest of TLY after its political appearance in the by-polls of NA-120 last month.
Unlike its previous demonstrations, this protest allowed passageways at the Faisal Chowk to remain open for traffic. However, protest was staged in violation of the section 144 that bars holding of protest rallies and political gatherings in front of Punjab Assembly.
Charged protestors belonging to the Barelvi sect assembled at Faisal Chowk (Charing Cross) under the leadership of Peer Khadim Hussaim Rizvi, to stage a demonstration against what they called the government’s attempt at making anti-Islamic laws.
Peer Khadim Hussain Rizvi, while addressing the protestors, called the new law controversial, saying that it would allow non-Muslims, particularly Qadyanis, to register themselves as Muslim voters. He said that they had sacrificed their lives for this act and now they would not let any authority amend it. Rizvi also warned to protest countrywide.
He said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was using all tactics to save a disqualified person.
The protest, which was held at Mall Road right in front of the Punjab Assembly, did not pose any traffic issues, as the TLY volunteers managed to maintain the flow of traffic. All protestors were ordered to occupy the footpaths and not block the roads.
Although the protest was held in violation of section 144, interestingly no official from City District Government Lahore, Operation deputy inspector general and deputy commissioner office was informed prior to the protest. However, an official in commissioner office seeking anonymity told Pakistan Today that such organisations never ask for permission prior to protest. He also said that authorities are reluctant about suppressing such protests which are about a sensitive issue such as blasphemy.
On other hand, the chief of the separated faction of TLY, Tehreek Labaik Al-Almi, Dr Ashraf Asif Jalali, has also announced to intensify the protest against the new law. He was addressing a press conference at Lahore Press Club where he demanded to government to take back the law immediately.
Jalali said that the Muslims of Pakistan would never accept any amendment or change in the laws which went against the Khatam-e-Nubawat.
The other religious parties like Jamaat-e-Islami, Milli Muslim League, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen, Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan, Pakistan Ulema Council, Jamiat Ehlehadith, Sunni Tehreek, Tanzeem Ittehad Ummat Pakistan, Tehreek-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool, Sunni Ittehad Council, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islami-S, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Noornai, Khatme Nabowat Pakistan have warned the government to repeal the law.
Meanwhile, PML-N lawmakers said that there was no such attempt to amend the law in the bill. Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid said that there is no question of amending the law against blasphemy.