TLP recapturing political scene

Police arrest dozens of activists outside court

LAHORE - The Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan is recapturing the political scene of the country after remaining dormant for more than two months.

The Brelvi outfit, which came into existence and subsequently rose to fame after hanging of Mumtaz Qadri in February 2016, had vanished from the sight after the arrest of Khadim Rizvi, the firebrand Sunni cleric and head of the TLP, on November 23.

The security agencies also made countrywide crackdown against the second tier leadership and workers of the TLP after Rizvi’s arrest. The police raids came ahead of TLP’s call to observe martyrs’ day on November 25. The party had asked workers and supporters to gather at Faizabad in Islamabad — the same venue where the party had staged a weeks-long sit-in (November 5 to November 26, 2017) against the amendment in Election Act 2017.

It was observed that TLP failed to organise even after weeks of the arrest of their leadership and there was no rally and protest in favour of Rizvi. Few analysts then made a claim that the party will not emerged again.

However, the TLP activities on ground and on social media are now clearly visible. A large number of followers of Rizvi were seen outside the anti-terrorism court (ATC) when the TLP leader was produced before the court on Monday. Police also arrested dozens of workers after they tried to block an armoured vehicle carrying Rizvi.  A worker said no one could stop them holding rallies in favour of their leader. He said they were ready to sacrifice their lives for their leader.

The followers of Rizvi, who otherwise considered students of the religious seminaries having no or less knowledge about social media, are appearing in bulk on Twitter and Facebook. In last couple of weeks, Twitter Pakistan witnessed top trends demanding release of Rizvi and backing his stance.

Some twitter users say the TLP is now the most active campaigner on the social media site after the PTI and the PML-N.

The TLP appeared fourth largest political party and leading religio-political in term of number of votes in general election of July 2018. Although, Muttahida Majlise Amal had a slight edge over and but the MMA was an alliance of five religious parties.

The nascent TLP had conducted two sit-ins so far that shook the political pundits and paralysed the country. One was the famous Faizabad sit-in in 2017 and the other was against Aasia Bibi acquittal from the Supreme Count of Pakistan on October 30. The government almost surrendered before the TLP conditions during both the protests.

A Punjab University professor of Islamic studies who does not want to be quoted said it was first time that a Brelvi organisation appeared so powerful and even inclined towards violent resistance in a recent political history of this region. The role of TLP, he said, could not be ruled out in Pakistan’s future politics now and it has successfully covered the space created by other religious parties of the country.


ePaper - Nawaiwaqt