The Punjab government has moved the Supreme Court against a Lahore High Court (LHC) that allowed Tehreek-e-Labbaik chief Khadim Rizvi to be released on bail, saying the high court “did not fulfill legal requirements” in its decision to grant bail to the fiery cleric.
Rizvi was booked in the aftermath of violent protests against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi last year. The petition said that there was enough evidence against the TLP chief and urged the top court to nullify the high court’s verdict.
In November 2018, Rizvi was taken into “protective custody” by police in Lahore after the law enforcement agencies launched a crackdown on TLP workers amid their call to observe martyrs day on November 25.
Rizvi had reportedly asked workers and supporters to gather at Islamabad’s Faizabad — the same venue where the party had staged a weeks-long sit-in in November 2017 that had virtually paralysed the federal capital and led to several people losing their lives.
Rizvi’s arrest also came weeks after the TLP led three-day protests across the country against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi — a Christian woman whose blasphemy conviction was overturned by the apex court.
In November 2017, TLP workers demanding the resignation of then law minister Zahid Hamid had staged a weeks-long sit-in at the Faizabad interchange that had disrupted daily life in the federal capital and led to several deaths. The apex court had taken notice of the sit-in and directed the defence and interior secretaries to submit a detailed report on the matter.
Days later, the then PML-N government had launched against the protesters an operation which, when failed, had forced the authorities to cave and Hamid to resign.
In February, the top court gave its verdict on the suo motu case over the Faizabad sit-in. The judgement directed the federal government, law enforcers, intelligence agencies and the army’s media wing to operate within their mandate.