LAHORE - Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan has almost vanished from country’s political scene after passing more than a week of police crackdown against its leaders and workers across the country.

The hardliner Brailvi/Sunni outfit which appeared the largest religious political party in terms of vote bank in general elections has failed to record any protest against arrests and so far has been unable to win any support from other religious organisations as well.

The police have arrested more than 3,000 TLP leaders and workers from all over the country.

The government had initially stated that TLP chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi and its chairman Pir Afzal Qadri were taken into protective custody for 30 days, however, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry Saturday announced to book them for sedition and terrorism—the maximum sentence of the charges is death.

The TLP has neither issued any reaction over the government announcement and nor it planned any protest against the move. The party’s few dozen workers organised a protest in front of Lahore Press Club on Friday but the police later arrested all the participants.

A second tier leader of the TLP said they will soon announce a strategy against the ‘tyranny of government over religious scholars and launch a countrywide movement against it.’

He said the TLP will never seek support from any other religious parties dubbing all of them as hypocrite and opportunists. He said the ‘bad days will end soon and the movement to enforce Shariah in Pakistan will continue.’

Though Jamaat-i-Islami, Sahibzada Hamid Raza’s Sunni Ittehad Council and Anas Noorani’s JUP-Imam Noorani have issued statements condemning the ‘arrests of religious clerics’ , there was not any specific mention of TLP’s chief Khadim Rizvi or Pir Afzal Qadri.

Dr Ashraf Asif Jalali’s Tehreek-e-Labbaik Islam, a faction of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasoolallah (TLYR), also condemned arrests but it clearly disassociated itself from ‘those who used derogatory remarks against state institutions.’

The TLP and TLI are political faces of TLYR—a party which the leaders of both TLP and TLI claimed founded by them.

The condemnation statements by TLI, SIC and JUP-Imam Noorani (all Brailvi/Sunni parties) were considered a move to win back Brailvi support which the religious parties lost in the general elections while the JI’s statement was also seen as a tactic to influence the Brailvi camp.

The TLP had secured more than two million votes countrywide and appeared third largest party in Lahore in 2018’s general elections leaving far behind all individual religious organisation.

The MMA, an alliance of five religious parties, got a slight edge over the TLP in the elections.