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Protests Continue Across Pak Against Arrest of Far-Right TLP Chief | India News

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ISLAMABAD: Protests continued for a second day on Tuesday in several cities in Pakistan following the arrest of the head of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a far-right religious party known for holding mass demonstrations on blasphemy-related issues.
Hundreds of TLP supporters were detained Monday night after demonstrations against the arrest of Saad Hussain Rizvi turned violent, leaving several police officers and civilians injured and at least two people dead. The young Rizvi had succeeded his father Khadim Hussain Rizvi as head of TLP after the latter’s death in November last year.
On Monday afternoon, police in the eastern city of Lahore detained Rizvi, a day after he issued a video message to his followers, telling them to be ready for a long march on April 20 if the government did not implement a agreement. had signed with TLP in February. His arrest has been seen as an attempt to prevent him from leading the long march against the government.
As news of Rizvi’s arrest spread, TLP issued a call for protests across the country, with its workers blocking main roads in major cities, including Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar and Gujranwala. They blocked roads, highways, metro-bus service routes and train tracks, causing massive traffic jams. Police personnel, attempting to disperse the crowd, encountered violence and, in some cities, resorted to tear gas bombardment and aerial fire in an attempt to restore peace. According to a statement issued by the National Highway and Highway Police, more than 50 points on the highways were blocked by TLP workers.
In November, the TLP had canceled a protest sit-in that had blocked a major highway linking the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi over the issue of statements made by French President Emmanuel Macron that had been deemed Islamophobic. At the time, the government had signed an agreement with the party promising to consider evicting the French ambassador, banning all French goods from Pakistan, and granting an amnesty to all TLP protesters arrested during those demonstrations.
In February this year, the government signed a new agreement after TLP threatened further protests to implement the previous agreement. Under the February agreement, the government agreed not to arrest any TLP workers and to submit a resolution to Parliament to expel the French ambassador from Pakistan. The deadline for the government to comply with these demands was April 20.
Founded by cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi, TLP has been agitating for several years on the issue of perceived blasphemy, holding mass demonstrations across the country, calling for the deaths of all “blasphemers.”
The party rose to prominence after the country’s 2018 general elections, when it secured the highest quarter of the popular vote for parliamentary seats.

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