11/19/2021, 12.14
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Lahore releases the leader of the extremist group Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan

by Shafique Khokhar

Saad Rizvi was released from prison following agreements signed between the government and the Islamist party. The ban against the formation was also removed. Pastor Javed Maish: "TLP guilty of the death of several people".

Lahore (AsiaNews) - Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi, head of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (Tlp), was released yesterday from the prison of Kot Lakhpat (Punjab) by decision of the High Court. After reaching the mosque of Rehmatul Lil Alameen, headquarters of the far-right Islamist party, hundreds of affiliates welcomed and greeted him. 

Rizvi, son of the organization's founder, had been arrested on April 12 this year on terrorism charges. The TLP had organized violent protests to force the government to expel the French ambassador from the country after the publication of some satirical cartoons on the Prophet Mohammed. Two days later the authorities banned the fundamentalist group.

As a sign of protest, on October 22 the LTP began a march towards Islamabad along one of the main arteries of the country, demanding the release of its leader and the release of other detainees.

In the clashes that took place in Lahore and Gujranwala at least 7 police officers died and dozens of people were injured. Following an agreement between the Pakistani government and the Tlp, at the beginning of the month about 2 thousand members of the party were released; the ban on political participation was also removed.

On Nov. 10, Rizvi and the Tlp itself were removed "with immediate effect" from the anti-terrorism lists on which they had previously been placed by the government, the Punjab Interior Department said.

"The Tlp has been banned for on reasonable grounds," Javed Maish, pastor of Christ Savior Church in Essa Nagri, told AsiaNews. "The Tehreek-e-Labbaik is guilty of the death and injury of Law Enforcement personnel and innocent bystanders. Rizvi had been arrested to stop the violence, killings and property damage. I can do nothing but pray for peace and harmony in the country," the cleric added. 

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