Islamabad: Pakistan government has charged Tehrik-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) leaders Khadim Hussain Rizvi and Afzal Qadri with treason and terrorism. On November 23, Rizvi, a firebrand cleric, was taken into “protective custody” as security forces launched a crackdown against the religio-political party.
Information minister Fawad Chaudhry said all institutions and major Opposition parties were onboard and supported Pakistan’s decision to try them for treason.
The terms for treason and terrorism may be life imprisonment and the case against the TLP’s leaders will be heard in an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC), elaborated the minister.
Referring to those workers of the TLP who were earlier taken into ‘protective custody’, the minister added they will be released after giving “sureties.”
The TLP had staged violent countrywide protests against the acquittal of Aasi Bibi in November. The top court moved to seek contempt proceedings against cleric Khadim Rizvi.
The action was taken following TLP’s refusal to withdraw the call to stage a protest sit-in at Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi on November 25.
Fawad touched upon the recent opening of the Kartarpur corridor and said a mindset exists in Pakistan and India that decisions were taken by the country’s armed forces.
“The Indian army chief has given a statement that no talks with Pakistan will be held till Pakistan becomes a secular state, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the Kartarpur corridor a positive initiative. Aren’t these two different things,” he questioned.
The information minister also referred to the ongoing anti-encroachment drive in Karachi and clarified that the operation did not fall in the domain of the federal government and was being conducted under orders from the Supreme Court.