ATC extends judicial remand of Rizvi, five others till Feb 8 | Pakistan Today

ATC extends judicial remand of Rizvi, five others till Feb 8

LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Monday extended the judicial remand of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Rizvi and five others till February 8.

The leadership of the party has been charged with inciting violence and damaging public and private property in protests after the acquittal of blasphemy convict Aasia Bibi.

As the earlier granted 14-day judicial remand was ended, jail authorities presented Rizvi along with other TLP leaders before the court.

During the course of proceedings, police submitted that the charge sheet against the accused had not been finalised yet and requested the court to grant a few days’ time for the purpose.

At this, the court directed police to submit the challan as soon as possible and extended the judicial remand for another four days.

On January 2, the court had awarded 20-day physical remand to top TLP leadership to enable further probe on the matter.

Protests had erupted in several cities after the Supreme Court acquitted Aasia Bibi 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 the 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.

On December 1, top TLP leadership, including Rizvi and Afzal Qadri, were charged with treason and terrorism. A week prior to this development, the TLP chief was taken into “protective custody” as security forces launched a crackdown on the far-right religious outfit.

The law enforcement agencies had rounded up around 1,800 individuals while the Ministry of Interior had said that the arrested people had been booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

According to the figures issued by the government, a total of 2,899 people were taken into protective custody from across Punjab while 139 persons from Sindh and 126 from Islamabad were also taken into custody during the crackdown.

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.

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