Govt okays removal of TLP's proscribed status

Govt okays removal of TLP’s proscribed status

ISLAMABAD: Govt okays removal of TLP’s proscribed status. The federal cabinet on Sunday approved the proposal by the Interior Ministry seeking the revocation of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan’s (TLP) proscribed status.

A day earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan had approved the submission of the summary to his cabinet while an anti-terrorism court granted post-arrest bail to several leaders of the group in the criminal cases registered with different police stations.

The government had declared the TLP a proscribed outfit under the anti-terror law in April this year, after three days of violent protests by the group’s members across the country.

“The cabinet considered the summary dated Nov 6, submitted by the Interior Division, which was circulated in terms of Rule 17 (1)(b) read with Rule 19 (1) of the Rules of Business, 1973 for ‘de-proscription of TLP’ and approved the proposal,” says the decision by the cabinet, seen by Dawn.com.

As per the contents of the Ministry of Interior’s summary, the TLP had made a request to the Punjab government for its de-proscription on April 29.

A prescription review committee (PRC) was then constituted to deliberate on the matter and it concluded that the government’s decision to declare the TLP a proscribed outfit was “based on merit”, the summary said while recalling the history of the entire episode.

It added that the views of the law ministry had also been obtained on the matter.

“In view of the commitment and assurance given by the organisation (TLP)” as well as “keeping in view the larger national interest”, the provincial cabinet asked the federal government to consider de-proscription of the TLP, the summary had noted.

TLP’s protest

The matter of TLP’s de-proscription again came under consideration following another days-long protest by the TLP, which started on October 20 in Lahore. The protest, which had turned violent, was primarily launched to exert pressure on the Punjab government for the release of TLP chief Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi, the son of its late founder Khadim Rizvi, and the expulsion of the French ambassador over blasphemous sketches of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The situation seemed to improve only after negotiations between the TLP and government started on October 30, with the members of the negotiating team from the government side claiming the next day that they had reached an “agreement” with the proscribed group but refused to divulge its details.

Sources had said the TLP was assured that the government would not pursue minor cases against the TLP leadership and workers, but the cases registered under the Anti-Terrorism Act would be decided by courts. It also assured the TLP leadership that it would unfreeze the accounts and assets of the proscribed outfit and take steps to lift the ban.

While some 2,100 TLP activists have been released from police custody after the federal government-TLP agreement, the revocation of the group’s proscribed status will automatically remove around 8,000 TLP activists from the Fourth Schedule — a list on which suspects of terrorism and sectarianism are placed under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the government transferred the entire police high command of Lahore in a massive reshuffle in the wake of their “mishandling of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan’s violent rally”.

Several regional police officers (RPOs) and district police officers (DPOs) were also reshuffled in Punjab.

 

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