Pakistan calls for Tehreek-e-Labaik party to be dissolved before Supreme Court – Minister of the Interior
ISLAMABAD / KARACHI: Pakistan’s federal cabinet approved the Interior Ministry’s recommendation to ban Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), a religious party whose supporters have been staging protests across the country since Monday, said Thursday a senior government minister at a press conference, adding that the government would take the case to the Supreme Court to ensure the dissolution of the religious party.
Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said on Wednesday that his ministry would send a proposal to the federal cabinet to ban the TLP for killing two police officers, attacking law enforcement and disrupting public life with nationwide protests.
Protests erupted in major Pakistani cities and quickly turned violent after Saad Rizvi, the head of the religious party, was arrested on Monday after threatening to launch a major campaign against the government if he did not exclude the envoy. from France to Islamabad for blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. (Peace be upon him) printed in a French publication.
“We have outlawed [the TLP] and the notification for this will be issued shortly, “Federal Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed said.” Tomorrow we will send another summary to cabinet to file a referral to the Supreme Court as we head to [TLP’s] dissolution.”
Muhammad Younus Soomro, a TLP lawmaker in the Sindh Assembly, said he would use his legal options to retain his seat in parliament.
“We will see our options once the notification is [regarding the ban] is published, ”Soomro said while distancing himself from the TLP protests.
TLP leader in southern Pakistan’s city of Karachi, Allama Razi Hussaini, on Thursday also warned that he would disown his party leader and members of the central advisory body if they did not cancel events.
“If the central party Shura and Saad Hussain Rizvi Sahib continue to be stubborn and insist that they do not want to resolve this issue through talks, the nation will be disappointed and we will have no association with the TLP leadership, ”he said in a statement. video message.
The TLP rose to prominence in Pakistan’s 2018 federal election, campaigning to defend the country’s blasphemy law, which calls for the death penalty for anyone who insults Islam. The party has also staged protests and sit-ins to pressure the government to accept its demands.
In November 2017, Rizvi supporters staged a 21-day protest and sit-in after a reference to the sanctity of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was removed from the text of a government form.
In the 2018 elections, the party succeeded in winning two seats in the Sindh Assembly in Karachi and electing a woman to a reserved seat in the Assembly.
Commenting on the government’s decision to ban the TLP, legal experts said the government was required to take the case to the Supreme Court within fifteen days of a political party being declared banned while presenting its reasons to do.
“The Supreme Court can decide the dismissal of the government in a week or ten days and its decision will be final,” (retired) judge Shaiq Usmani told Arab News.
He said the law regarding the dissolution of a political party was “very clear” and that if the Supreme Court upholds the government’s statement against the TLP, “the party will remain dissolved immediately”.
Legal experts said the three elected TLP members in the Sindh Assembly could retain their seats by resigning their party membership and publicly announcing their dissociation from the TLP ahead of a final Supreme Court ruling.
“If TLP lawmakers disassociate themselves from the party before the Supreme Court’s verdict, they will be able to complete their constitutional tenure as independent members of the house,” Ashtar Ausaf Ali, a former attorney general of Pakistan, told Arab News .
He said that if a member of parliament or provincial assemblies was disqualified upon dissolution of a party, he could not stand for election or for a legislative body for four years from the date of his disqualification from the statute. of legislator.
“There is no ambiguity in the law,” Ali said, “and it’s now up to party lawmakers to decide what they choose if their party is dissolved.”