Pakistan government books TLP leaders, chief Khadim Rizvi under treason charges

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Islamabad: Pakistan government has booked several leaders of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), including its chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi, under the charges of treason and terrorism for causing unrest and damage to public life and property during a nation-wide protest following the release of Christian woman Asia Bibi in a blasphemy case.

Bibi, a 47-year-old mother of four, was released from Multan jail early November after the Supreme Court in its landmark decision acquitted her of blasphemy charges.

She was convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting Islam in a row with her neighbours. Bibi always maintained her innocence, but spent most of the past eight years in solitary confinement.

Following the release of Bibi, TLP disrupted daily life across Pakistan by staging widespread protests.

“A case has been registered against Tehreek-e-Labbaik leader Khadim Rizvi on charges of sedition and terrorism at a police station in Lahore Similar charges have been levied against Pir Afzal Qadri, Hafiz Farooq ul Hassan and others,” Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary said.

Last month, the police arrested Rizvi and more than 3,000 other activists and now formal case of sedition and terrorism has been registered against them, he said.

Chaudhary said that massive operation was launched with the help of intelligence agencies and 2, 899 people were taken in protective custody in Punjab, 139 in Sindh and 126 in Islamabad.

They were involved in ransacking the properties, torching the vehicles and misbehaving with people, including women and children.

He said that those activists who were not involved in any disruptive activity will be released but will be fined heavily so that they avoid taking part in such protests in future. PTI