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Fazlur Rehman demands release of arrested banned TLP members

LAHORE: The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has threatened the government of countrywide protests if Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) head Saad Rizvi and activists were not released.

In a press conference on Sunday evening, Maulana Fazlur Rehman asked the government to release Saad Rizvi immediately or get ready for countrywide protests.

Maulana Fazl said that they were ready to support TLP in their protest; saying that they will fight and will never let the government amend the Namos-e-Risalat laws. 

The PDM chief said, “Today the entire nation is suffering from extreme grief and anxiety, we strongly condemn it.” He said that those who raised the voice for the Holy Prophet (PBUH) have been shot dead, wounded and martyrs are lying in mosques and the doors of hospitals have also been closed.

He said that only a hard-hearted enemy could do such a thing as the US did in Guantanamo, PTI itself staged a 126-day sit-in, insulted the Supreme Court and attacked PTV.

“Those who humiliate the country and insult the faith and ideology of Pakistan are given state support, Pakistan becomes a slaughterhouse for those who protest for the honor of the Prophet,” the PDM chief said.

Earlier in the day, Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed has said that all steps are being taken to reopen roads blocked by banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

Addressing a press conference on Sunday Sheikh Rasheed said 192 locations across the country had been sealed by the banned outfit. He said, “The situation is a bit tense at Lahore’s Yateem Khana Chowk where the Jamia Masjid Rahmatul Lil Alameen is situated. Presently, all roads including the GT Road and the Murree Expressway are open for traffic,” he said.

The GT Road and all main arteries of the country will remain open on April 20, the minister said. He was referencing the date as the banned outfit had planned a protest on April 20 over the alleged non-fulfillment of their demands.

Sheikh Rasheed said the government was not negotiating with the outlawed TLP, adding “No negotiation process is underway with the party’s leaders.”

Speaking about the proscribed organization, Rasheed said when an outfit is banned, the bank accounts and passports of its members are frozen by the government.

He spoke about estranged PTI leader Jahangir Tareen, saying that he was sure the sugar baron would not deflect from the PTI to any other political party.

On Saturday,  the Punjab government had placed Saad Rizvi, the chief of the banned party TLP, on the fourth schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

Punjab’s home department in a notification had said his assets have been frozen, and his national identity card has been blocked — which means he cannot conduct transactions via banks, nor can he sell or purchase any property.

Similarly, the National Counter-Terrorism Authority, a day earlier, had placed TLP on the proscribed organization’s list. Rizvi has to submit his original passport to the in-charge of the concerned police station.