–Majority of religious parties distance themselves from TLP
–Some say were not contacted by Khadim Rizvi-led party; others support govt’s action
–Provincial law minister reiterates TLP leaders not arrested in Aasia Bibi protests case
LAHORE: Following the detainment of firebrand cleric and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi as well as other party members, none of the religious parties of the country has shown any solidarity with Labbaik, Pakistan Today learnt Saturday.
According to sources, TLP workers were trying to contact different religious parties while seeking their support and trying to organise a joint protest against the arrests of their leaders, but none of the parties had yet stepped forward.
“It is another U-turn of the government as earlier it had made certain promises to TLP,” Jamaate Islami Lahore chief Ameerul Azeem said while speaking to Pakistan Today.
“Labbaik should have reconciled with all other religious parties and brought them on the same page. We are ready for any consultations that TLP needs but no one has contacted us so far.”
Allama Raghib Naeemi of Jamia Naeemia, on the other hand, said that they would accept any action taken by the government to maintain law and order in the country. “The state should take all necessary measures to curb extremism,” he said.
The spokesperson of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Islam (TLI) founder Dr Ashraf Asif Jalali, Jameel Baig, told Pakistan Today that they had directed party workers to remain calm and refrain from any agitation.
“So far, the party leadership has not passed on any directions,” Jameel said.
Amid the religious parties’ disinterest in the affairs of TLP, a similar voice resonated in different quarters of the general public.
“Whoever violates the law should be brought to justice. Many leaders have been arrested in the 70-year long history of the country whereas TLP has no apparent agenda and challenged the writ of state only to incite people,” writer and analyst Farrukh Suhail Goindi said while speaking to Pakistan Today.
The arrests, he added, were “long overdue”.
A lawyer, Azhar Siddique, said that arrests were made according to Maintenance of Public Order (MPOs) in the past, but a notice should have been sent to the leaders who were being held.
“If the arrests were made in cases the TLP leaders are facing, it would add fire to the situation. All damage caused to public and private properties was on their call but these people have not yet been convicted.”
“We should not lead the matters towards chaos, rather, laws should be formulated according to which such sensitive cases can be dealt with,” he added.
“They [Khadim Rizvi and others] have been arrested as per Section 3 of MPOs under which anyone can be detained for 30 days, but for future, we need legislation to neutralise situations before they reach such a high,” Azhar commented.
Senior analyst Rasool Bux Raees said that the state is not left with many options when someone is determined to block the roads and has a history of challenging its writ.
“If he would have been allowed to do it all over again for the third time, eyebrows would have been raised over the credibility of the state,” he said, adding that there is a provision in the constitution regarding taking anyone into custody to ensure public safety and maintain peace.
He is in protective custody and not exactly arrested; however, if the cases registered against him are opened, Rizvi would have to face those and seek bail, Raees said.
Meanwhile, Punjab Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Raja Basharat said the government had requested them [TLP] to hold their protest at a place where it does not disrupt the routine life of the citizens but they did not listen.
“I believe the Punjab government has done what is in the greater interests of the general public and all political parties should abide by the law while protesting,” he told Pakistan Today.
These arrests have nothing to do with Aasia Bibi’s case that lies with the Supreme Court and whatever it decides would be implemented, Basharat reiterated.