TLP leader Rizvi & Co booked under sedition, terrorism charges information minister
Minister says Khadim Rizvi, Pir Afzal Qadri, Iniyatullah Haq and Hafiz Farooqul Hassan will be tried in
anti-terrorism courts for inciting violence, arson and damage to public and private property during TLP protest last month..
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry Saturday said the top leadership of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) has been booked under sedition and terrorism charges for inciting violence, arson and damage to the public and private property during their protest in the first week of November.
Addressing a press conference here, the minister said a case of sedition and terrorism has been registered against TLP leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi at Civil Lines Police Station Lahore while Pir Afzal Qadri has been booked in Gujrat. Similarly, cases have been lodged against Iniyatullah Haq and Hafiz Farooqul Hassan at Rawat Police Station.
The minister said the miscreants damaged the public property worth Rs 50 million besides misbehaving with the common citizens during the TLP protest. They even harassed women and snatched their purses, he said. “Such miscreants are being identified and booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act. Many of them have already been arrested,” he revealed.
Fawad said Khadim Rizvi, Afzal Qadri and Hafiz Faooqul Hassan were taken in to protective custody on November 23. Some 2,899 TLP activists were held in Punjab, 139 in Sindh and 126 in the federal capital, he said. “Those who are not directly involved in violence will be released after taking surety bonds from them that they will not participate in such illegal activities in future,” he added.
Fawad said it was the State’s responsibility to devise policies for the society. “All the political parties and state institutions are subservient to the constitution.
Holding peaceful protest was constitutional right of every citizen, but it should be within the ambit of law and constitution,” he said. “Some miscreants in the garb of protest resorted to violence and arson, damaging both private and public property worth millions … State cannot allow anyone to take law into its hands,” he added.
The minister said all the state institutions and the opposition parties were taken on board before taking action against the TLP. He also thanked the opposition and media for extending full support to the government in this regard.
Replying to a question, Fawad said the accused would be tried in the anti-terrorism courts. The TLP violated the agreement which its leadership had signed with the government by taking the law into their hand, he added.
Answering another query, he said some 500 kanal of government land worth Rs 350 billion had been retrieved from the illegal occupants in Islamabad and another 88,000 acres in Punjab during the anti-encroachment operation. Old and fake videos regarding the anti-encroachment operation had gone viral on social media under a conspiracy to malign the government, he said. The prime minister has given clear-cut directions to Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the provincial authorities to retrieve all the government land from the illegal occupants, he added.
Regarding the ongoing operation against encroachers in Karachi, the minister said it was not under the domain of the federal government as it was being carried out by the provincial and the city governments on the orders of the Supreme Court.
Referring to a statement of Indian Army chief linking his country’s engagement with Pakistan till its secularization, the minister posed a question to the Indian journalists that whether their civilian and army leaderships were not on the same page.
Fawad said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lauded the opening of Kartarpur corridor. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan wants to facilitate religious tourism in the region. “Like Kartarpur for the Sikh community, a temple in Kashmir and Katas Raj temple in Chakwal are sacred for the Hindus,” he added.