ISLAMABAD: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) and civil courts on Saturday issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah Pakistan’s (TLYR) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi along with other absconding suspects in 14 cases related to the Faizabad sit-in held last year.
ATC Judge Shahrukh Arjumand issued arrest warrants in five cases regarding the Islamabad protests that were registered in the I-9 police station after Rizvi and other suspects refused to appear in court for the hearing.
The Labbaik leader along with other religious activists are facing multiple charges, including terrorism, in several cases that were registered in 26 police stations across the federal capital after the Faizabad protests.
A civil court also issued arrest warrants in nine cases lodged in the Industrial Area police station.
An ATC court has already issued arrest warrants for Rizvi and other leaders of different religious parties, including the Tehreek-i-Khatm-e-Nabuwwat and the Sunni Tehreek Pakistan, in six cases pertaining to the Faizabad sit-in.
The last arrest warrant was issued earlier this week after Rizvi failed to appear in court for a hearing. Despite multiple warrants, no arrests have been made as yet.
Religious parties held a sit-in at Faizabad Interchange in the federal capital following the passage of the Elections Act 2017, which they believed deliberately modified the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat oath as part of some conspiracy. The amendment to the oath had been explained as a ‘clerical error’ by the government and subsequently rectified through an Act of Parliament.
Nonetheless, the protesters had occupied the Faizabad Interchange, which connects Rawalpindi and Islamabad through the Islamabad Expressway and Murree Road — both of which are the busiest roads in the twin cities.
Rizvi was one of the central figures of the protests that disrupted life in the twin cities for nearly 20 days.
The government had initiated several rounds of negotiations with the protesters, but failed each time.
The sit-in lasted nearly three weeks and culminated after an operation to end the protest by the government failed, following which the army brokered an ‘agreement’ between the state and the protesters, the terms of which included the resignation of former law minister Zahid Hamid.
The agreement had been seen as a complete surrender by the state to the protesters.