Pakistan government capitulation: Militant TLP chief Saad Rizvi released weeks after Imran Khan strikes deal with group

Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi has been released from Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore weeks after the group reached an agreement with Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government

Nov 19, 2021
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Militant TLP chief Saad Rizvi released (Photo: Dawn)

Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi has been released from Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore weeks after the group reached an agreement with Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government. TLP spokesperson Mufti Abid confirmed the development and told Dawn that Rizvi had reached the party's headquarters, Rehmatul Lil Alameen Mosque, where he was greeted by hundreds of jubilant party workers and supporters, UNI news agency said. 

The mosque will be holding urs from November 20-21 to commemorate the death anniversary of the TLP chief's father and the group's founder, Khadim Hussain RIzvi.

Last week, the government had removed TLP chief Saad Rizvi's name from the Fourth Schedule – a list on which suspects of terrorism are put under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 – after the recommendation of the District Intelligence Committee, Lahore.

The notification issued by the Punjab Home Department read, “Federal Government, under Sub-Section (I) of Section 11-U of Act ibid has removed the name of Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan from 1st Schedule of Act ibid as a proscribed organization.

“Now therefore, name of Hafiz Muhammad Saad s/o Khadim Hussain is, hereby, deleted from the list of 4th Schedule of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 with immediate effect.”

His name was added in the Fourth Schedule on April 16.

Earlier, the Interior Ministry had issued a notification revoking the proscription of the organisation days after the government and then banned TLP had signed an agreement.

The Pakistan government lifted the ban on TLP “in the larger national interest” days after an agreement was reached between the two parties following violent protests demanding release of the group's chief Saad Rizvi.

According to a report by Dawn, a notification in this regard was issued by the Ministry of Interior a day before a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security was to be held in the National Assembly.

The interior ministry claimed that the notification was issued at Punjab government's request.

Later, it was reported that Prime Minister Imran Khan had approved the decision to revoke the ban of TLP.

“In exercise of the powers conferred under sub-section (I) of Section 11U of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 (as amended), the federal government is pleased to remove the name of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan from the First Schedule of the said Act as proscribed organisation for the purpose of the said Act,” reads the notification.

The notification read that the TLP was placed in the First Schedule as a proscribed organisation by the government on April 15 on the recommendation of Home Department of Punjab. On October 31, Imran Khan-led government announced an agreement has been reached with the TLP after the latest round of dialogue between the two parties.(SAM)

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