LAHORE: The Punjab Police said on Saturday that the situation was completely under control after the arrest of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, on Friday night.
The TLP chief was taken into “protective custody” by the authorities after Lahore Deputy Commissioner Saleha Saeed issued his detention order under the Punjab Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance, 1960, for 30 days and gave him into the custody of the superintendent of the city’s central jail.
The detention order available to Arab News reads: “… upon the basis of evidence/ material placed before me, I am convinced that the presence of Molana Khadim Hussain Rizvi, Chairman, Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan S/O Lal Din … [at] any public place will pose grave threat to the public safety and is likely to cause breach of public peace and public order."
It may be recalled that the police had raided Rizvi’s seminary Friday night for his arrest, but TLP loyalists had offered them strong resistance and Rangers were called in to control the situation.
As the news of TLP chief’s arrest spread across the city, many of its activists gathered at Multan Road, Babu Sabo, and a few other parts of Lahore to block the city’s main thoroughfares.
However, the police took action against these TLP workers, arrested violent protesters among them, and shifted the detained individuals to different police stations. A document available with Arab News confirms the arrest of 19 activists.
The police did not allow TLP activists on Saturday to gather at any point and block the roads.
“The Traffic in Lahore is flowing smoothly. No disturbance has been reported from any part of the city. All entry and exit points are clear,” City Traffic Officer Malik Liaqat told Arab News.
Earlier on November 5, TLP protesters had blocked roads and brought life to a standstill in different parts of the country. They were protesting against the acquittal of a Christian woman, Aasia Bibi, by the Supreme Court who was charged under the blasphemy law.
The same religio-political party had also paralyzed the federal capital for several days by staging a sit-in at the Faizabad interchange in Rawalpindi, the neighboring city of Islamabad, in November 2017.
However, law-enforcing agencies were prepared to deal with public disorder in the wake of Khadim Rizvi’s arrest.
“The law and order situation is completely under the control. A Police reserve force is fully alert to prevent any social disruption. Those who will create disturbance will face full force of the law,” Deputy Inspector General Operation Waqas Nazir said in a media release.
The TLP claims that its 2500 workers were arrested last night and the crackdown against its activists continued by the law enforcing agencies.
“The police have arrested our 2500 loyalists from across the Punjab province. The number of arrested people from Lahore stands at 70,” Sahibzada Usman, Media Secretary of the faction, told Arab News.
TLP had pledged to hold a public rally in Liaquat Bagh, Rawalpindi, on November 25 at all cost.
“We will still reach Liaquat Bagh and hold our public meeting on Sunday. We will not withdraw our plan, no matter how difficult the situation gets,” said Syed Inayatul Haq Shah, TLP Rawalpindi divisional president and organizer of the program.