Finally, the government of Pakistan woke up on Wednesday when it decided to ban the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP). Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed announced the decision in a press conference. He said that TLP’s “file is going to the cabinet for the approval from today”.
The TLP supporters and workers have been carrying out violent protests in the country after the arrest of their chief.
Rashid’s statement comes hours after law enforcement agencies and officials moved to clear TLP goons from roads as protests entered a third day. However, during all this time, the center and the Punjab government remained helpless against the violence on the roads.
Pakistanis kept on waiting to see a foolproof strategy from the PTI government to control the madness but in vain. Many on social media now demand the removal of Usman Buzdar as Chief Minister Punjab. It was at this time, brave soldiers of the Pakistan Police Force emerged as saviors of the common people.
Two policemen martyred during the violence
Paramilitary forces deployed overnight in Punjab as police struggled to clear violent sit-ins by TLP. Violent mob martyred two policemen and injured 125 policemen during clashes in Lahore, Police Chief Ghulam Mehmood Dogar told Reuters.
TLP is a hardline group that made the denunciation of blasphemy against Islam its rallying cry. Officials caught their leader Saad Rizvi in Lahore on Monday ahead of the demonstrations.
Police constables Muhammad Afzal and Ali Imran sacrified their lives in the line of duty and Pakistan is proud of them.
On Tuesday, officials charged Rizvi with instigating the murder of constable Muhammad Afzal. Authorities say TLP goons kidnapped the constable and later beaten him to death. Meanwhile, oxygen supplies for COVID-19 patients were also disrupted.
Protesters blocked major roads across the country on Monday and Tuesday. But by Tuesday evening police cleared most of the crowds, except in Lahore. Local news outlets reported similar incidents of protesters overpowering police in other cities.
In one, a police officer with a bloodied face is frog-marched along a road by protesters. In another, a group of officers is seated on the ground surrounded by protesters. One of them was bleeding and appearing to be badly injured.
And, we totally agree!
TLP – A notorious group
The TLP group blocked one of the main roads into the capital late last year. They called off their protest only after the government signed a deal with them. It claimed the government agreed to endorse a boycott of French products.
At the time, protests had broken out in several Muslim countries over France’s response to the killing of a teacher who showed cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) to pupils during a civics lesson. For many Muslims, depictions of the Prophet are blasphemous. Pakistan’s parliament in October condemned the display of images in France of the Prophet Mohammad, urging the government to withdraw its ambassador from Paris.
Earlier this year, the so-called agreement between TLP and the government extended a deadline to April 20. The government had to look for a parliamentary resolution to expel the French ambassador.
The government has decided to ban TLP but what then? How the state will ensure that it doesn’t resurface with a new name? Pakistan needs a permanent solution to its growing wave of extremism before it’s too late! Else, we will be left with no option but to defend ourselves like the gutsy woman who challenged TLP goons during the protest.
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