Countrywide strike in TLP support, police, rangers on high alert in Pakistan

at 11:31 am

New Delhi (NVI): Powerful clerics have called for a shutter-down strike across Pakistan today in support of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan that was banned by the government for outbreaks of violence last week.

Police and rangers are on high alert as markets and public transport have been closed in Karachi on the appeal of the ulema, said the All City Traders Union Association and All Karachi Footwear Merchant Association.

Yesterday, the former head of the moon-sighting Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam’s Fazlur Rehman both announced their support.

The same message was issued by Muhammad Hussain, the general secretary for the Transporters and Goods Association.

“This is a difficult announcement in the current business and commercial situation, but we cannot prioritize anything over honor,” said Hammad Poonawala, the president of the All City Traders Union and all its associations.

A massive protest broke out in Karachi at about 11 pm yesterday. Heavy contingent of police, Rangers took positions all over the city. Initially, the protests started in Liaquatabad and Maripur Road.

By night time a big crowd had gathered outside Darul Uloom-e-Amjadia in Nursery. Similar reports emerged from Orangi following which police and rangers were put on high alert in Karachi. Public transporters and markets said they would not operate in the city.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed announced in a video message that the government had started talks with the TLP. The second round of talks will begin after dawn. The TLP had released its 11 hostages. The TLP men have gone to Rehmat-ul-Ulameen mosque and the police have also retreated, Rasheed said.

Additional IGP Karachi Ghulam Nabi Memon was quoted saying that the police have been told to allow protesters to observe a peaceful strike.

He said that the police would respond accordingly if anyone tried to create a law and order situation in any part of Karachi.

Meanwhile, according to traffic police, the protesters who gathered at Maripur Road blocked the road leading to the port.

Mufti Muneeb asked the government to release TLP workers and withdraw its ban on the group.

“I announce that after today’s incident, the French ambassador has stopped leaving Pakistan,” said Fazlur Rehman.

“I am clearly announcing that if the bodies of TLP martyrs are sent to Islamabad, we will be with them,” he added.

He said that terrorists are not the ones who talk about the honor of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Terrorists are Imran Khan and his cabinet ministers.

On Thursday, the government formally proscribed the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan.

The government has reasonable grounds to believe that the TLP “engaged in terrorism, acted in a manner prejudicial to the peace and security of the country”, a notification issued by the Interior Ministry stated.

The religious group “intimidated the public, caused grievous bodily harm, hurt and death to the personnel of law enforcement agencies and innocent bystanders”, it added.

The party has been proscribed under section 11B (1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. It empowers the government to ban an organization involved in terrorism.

The ban will be placed under Section 11-B of the Ant-Terrorism Act, 1997, which gives the government powers to ban an organization involved or participating in terrorism.

Supporters of the religious party took to the streets earlier this week after their chief Saad Hussain Rizvi was arrested.

The Punjab government has blocked the national identity card of the TLP chief Saad Hussain Rizvi.

A notification issued by the Punjab Home Department on Sunday stated that the leader’s name has been placed under the Fourth Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

According to the act, any individual linked to a proscribed organisation can be restricted to limitations on travel, speech, and business.

Meanwhile, under section 11E of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, the government has sealed the offices and frozen the accounts of TLP as well. All literature, posters, banners or printed, electronic, digital, and other material have been seized.

TLP has been instructed to submit its income and expenditure for all social and political activities and disclose all its funding sources.

In a meeting of the Punjab Home Department on Saturday, it was suggested that the TLP chief’s and five other party supporter’s names should be placed on the Exit Control List. A request regarding the matter has been sent to the Interior Ministry.