Rapid rise of far-right TLP poses dilemma for Pakistan

Rapid rise of far-right TLP poses dilemma for Pakistan
Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief, Khadim Hussain Rizvi. (Photo courtesy: Qazi Shaheer Qadri)
Updated 02 August 2018

Rapid rise of far-right TLP poses dilemma for Pakistan

Rapid rise of far-right TLP poses dilemma for Pakistan
  • The party’s count was roughly 300,000 votes less than its heavyweight rival Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA)
  • Anecdotal evidence showed that in many seats, TLP votes pushed PML-N to second position

ISLAMABAD: The far-right Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) has emerged as the country’s fifth-largest party, according to an exit poll survey by Gallup, with analysts predicting it will become a growing legislative force. 
The religious party, founded in August 2015 and led by hard-line preacher Khadim Hussain Rizvi, is the third largest in Punjab, the country’s breadbasket and most populous province, the survey shows.
In a surprise to many political observers, the TLP gained more than 2.2 million votes in the recent election, taking 4 percent from the total vote bank.
The party’s count was roughly 300,000 votes less than its heavyweight rival Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), an old five-party alliance. 
Barring Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the TLP crushed all other parties in Punjab, including the mainstream Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). 
Gallup Pakistan (GP), the country’s leading research institution, gathered data from across 127 constituencies and questioned about 4,000 voters.
Imran Khan’s PTI led with a 32 percent share of votes in the polls, according to GP, which used the official results from the Election Commission of Pakistan. The PML-N ranked second with 24 percent of votes.
“Anecdotal evidence showed that in many seats, TLP votes pushed PML-N to second position, one reason for the loss of PML-N seats,” the survey said.
“Another way to look at the numbers is that between the 2013 and 2018 general election, PML-N lost around 9 percent of its vote bank nationally. Of this 9 percent, around 3-4 percent of the vote bank was lost not to PTI but to TLP.”
TLP’s success also dented the hopes of the struggling Muttahaida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in Karachi, the capital of Sindh and second most populated province. Rizvi’s party surpassed the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP), a splinter of MQM, and PML-N, winning 12 percent of the vote.
Political analyst Qamar Cheema told Arab News: “Since no party lived up to the expectations of the masses, the lower and lower middle class in the city voted for right-wing Islamists.”
Rizvi made international headlines with his support for Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer’s assassin Mumtaz Qadri, a member of the governor’s security detail who shot and killed Taseer over blasphemy allegations and was subsequently hanged in 2016. 
The Qadri movement, spearheaded by the preacher, drew support from across the nation.
In November 2017, TLP followers blocked Islamabad’s main road protesting against the PML-N-led government’s attempt to amend the “finality of prophethood” constitutional clause. 
Agitators clashed with security forces forcing the army to step in to curb the violence. However, the federation surrendered to Rizvi’s demands, turning him into a so-called people’s champion of religion.
“Pakistan’s politics is facing a new dilemma: The rise of new Islamists and their participation in the democratic process,” said Cheema.

“TLP’s inclusion in provincial assemblies will definitely affect future legislation,” he said.


France targets mosques in extremism crackdown

Updated 03 December 2020

France targets mosques in extremism crackdown

France targets mosques in extremism crackdown
  • Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said that if any of the 76 prayer halls inspected were found to promote extremism they would be closed down
  • Inspections are part of France’s response to two attacks — the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty and the killing of three people in a Nice church

PARIS: French authorities will inspect dozens of mosques and prayer halls suspected of radical teachings starting Thursday as part of a crackdown on extremists following a spate of attacks, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.

Darmanin told RTL radio that if any of the 76 prayer halls inspected was found to promote extremism they would be closed down.

The inspections are part of the government’s response to two brutal recent attacks that shocked France — the October 16 beheading of a teacher who showed his pupils cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad and the stabbing to death of three people in a church in Nice on October 29.

Darmanin did not reveal which places of worship would be inspected. In a note he sent to regional security chiefs, seen by AFP, he cites 16 addresses in the Paris region and 60 others around the country.

On Twitter Wednesday he said the mosques were suspected of “separatism” — a term President Emmanuel Macron has used to describe ultraconservative Muslims closing themselves off from French society by, for example, enrolling their children in underground schools or forcing young girls to wear the Muslim headscarf.

The rightwing minister told RTL the fact that only a fraction of the around 2,600 Muslim places of worship in France were suspected of peddling radical theories showed “we are far from a situation of widespread radicalization.”

“Nearly all Muslims in France respect the laws of the Republic and are hurt by that (radicalization),” he said.
The killing of teacher Samuel Paty, who had shown his pupils cartoons of Mohammad in a class on free speech, at a school outside Paris sent shockwaves through France, where it was seen as an attack on the republic itself.

In the aftermath of his murder the authorities raided dozens of associations, sports groups and charities suspected of promoting extremism.
They also ordered the temporary closure of a large mosque in the Paris suburb of Pantin that had shared a vitriolic video lambasting Paty.

The government has also announced plans to step up the deportations of illegal migrants on radicalization watchlists.
Darmanin said that 66 of 231 foreigners on a watchlist had been expelled, around 50 others had been put in migrant detention centers and a further 30 had been placed under house arrest.

The minister announced the latest clampdown after receiving fierce criticism for pushing a bill that would make it harder to document police brutality.

Images of officers beating up black music producer Michel Zecler in his studio brought tens of thousands of people onto the streets last weekend against Darmanin’s push to restrict the filming of the police in the new bill.
MPs from Macron’s ruling Republic on the Move party have since announced plans to rewrite the legislation.