Why Pakistan is on the boil again | 9 points - Happy Boss

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Monday, 19 April 2021

Why Pakistan is on the boil again | 9 points

The clashes between Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan workers and the police in Pakistan have their roots in caricatures published in France last year.

Pakistan is witnessing violent clashes again between Islamists and the government. In the latest development, members of banned Islamist party Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) clashed with the police and several people are feared dead in Lahore.

The clashes erupted in Lahore on Sunday when the TLP workers took a number of police personnel hostage. Pakistan minister Sheikh Rashid later issued a video statement, saying the hostages had been freed.

The government used force against the TLP workers, irking other Islamist groups, who responded with a call for intensifying the agitation.


  • The clashes between the TLP workers and the police in Pakistan have their roots in caricatures published in France last year. The Islamists had termed the caricatures blasphemous and demanded the ouster of French ambassador from Pakistan.

  • A four-point deal was struck between the Pakistan government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan and TLP founder Khadim Hussaian Rizvi a couple of days before his death in November 2020. Rizvi was an influential Islamist in Pakistan who led at least three sieges of Islamabad between 2016 and 2020.

  • The deal was that the government would pass a law in Pakistan’s National Assembly to legally expel the French ambassador from the country over the caricatures published in a French magazine.

  • The original deal could not be implemented. Another agreement was reached between the TLP and the Imran Khan government according to which the Islamists gave a deadline of April 20 to send back the French ambassador.

  • Protests erupted at several places in Pakistan last week over the TLP’s demand for removal of the French ambassador. Saad Hussain Rizvi, the son of TLP founder Khadim Hussain Rizvi, led these protests, which saw violent clashes at many places.

  • Police arrested Saad Hussain Rizvi last week. The government banned the TLP. Thereafter, violent clashes with police increased, leading to several policemen being taken hostage and a deputy superintendent-level officer being tortured in Lahore on Sunday.

  • Police claimed the TLP protesters destroyed public property and took away an oil tanker containing 50,000 litres of petrol. The TLP, however, blamed the police for the violence, and alleged that the police used force against it and killed its workers.

  • The TLP said it would not bury the bodies of its workers until the Imran Khan government expelled the French ambassador. The outfit has got support from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and Pakistan Democratic Movement, led by Islamist extremist leader Fazal-ul-Rehman. Former head of Ruet-e-Hilal Committee — the government department that announces the sighting of the new Moon — Muneeb-ur-Rehman has also announced a nationwide protest.

  • Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has looked defensive despite police action. He wrote on Twitter: "Let me make clear to people here & abroad: Our govt only took action against TLP under our anti-terrorist law when they challenged the writ of the state and used street violence & attacking the public & law enforcers. No one can be above the law and the Constitution (sic)."

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