–TLP leadership is accused of inciting protesters to damage public property during violent riots after blasphemy convict Aasia Bibi’s acquittal
LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Tuesday sent Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi, Pir Afzal Qadri and four others to jail on a 14-day judicial remand.
The directive was made during the hearing of a case concerning protests across the country in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to acquit Aasia Bibi in October last year.
During the hearing on Tuesday, workers of the party had gathered outside the ATC, with strict security arrangements in place to avoid any violent incidents.
Rizvi, Qadri as well as Allama Farooqul Hassan and Allama Aijaz Ashrafi are facing charges of fueling the protests, inciting followers to damage property and making hate speeches targeting state institutions.
Protests had erupted in several cities after the Supreme Court acquitted Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who had been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges, on October 31.
Enraged masses had blocked several routes across the country for two days, while at some places they had also set fire to vehicles. The demonstrations saw closure of schools, colleges and universities, as well as cancellation of examinations.
The government and the protesters from different religious groups, led by Rizvi, reached an agreement two days later on November 2.
The law enforcement agencies had rounded up around 1,800 individuals after the agreement. The Ministry of Interior had said that the arrested people had been booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).
Although the government decided to take action against miscreants involved in vandalism, torture and arson during the demonstrations across the country, it later showed leniency by dropping the cases against the TLP workers.